The World's First Test-Tube Burger Is Kind Of Okay-Tasting



beefPhoto: Courtesy of Maastricht University.
UPDATE: Today, it happened. Two humans — Chicagoan author Josh Schonwald and Austrian food researcher Hanni Rutzler — had the delight of tasting the world's first test-tube burger, and it was...okay. For lunch this afternoon in London, the pair watched the burger being prepared and then tasted it in front of an audience of some 200 people. The cooking time was about the same as that of a regular burger, and as you can see, it looks similar, too. Upon tasting it, Rutzler said she expected it to be a little more juicy, and that while there was a not-unpleasant flavor, it wasn't the same. On the plus side, the texture was more or less what you'd expect from real meat, but because the burger is made only from muscle tissue with no fat, it doesn't have the same level of flavor as the real thing.

Of course, this is a pretty big deal. "Cultured beef" (which, incidentally, should be the name of Kanye's next album) inventor Mark Post says it won't be available in supermarkets for at least 10 years, but if it does become marketable and — fingers crossed — popular, this could mean the solution to many environmental issues and a much, much better future for animal rights. Learn more, if you're interested, here...or just read this gross article about ever-lasting happy meals, instead.

Originally published on July 31: Love a good burger? Us, too. In all its juicy varieties. And yet, we’re not sure we’d spend £250,000 on one.

Yes, you read that correctly. This week, a few lucky diners will experience the culinary delights of a 250K patty and bun. But, this isn’t a burger covered in 24-carat gold or one made from the rarest Kobe beef. Rather, it is the science behind it that gives it the hefty price tag. As this particular burger began life in a test tube.

Heston Blumenthal, eat your heart out. Professor Mark Post, a medical physiologist at Maastricht University in Holland, has spent the past two years working on an “in vitro” burger taken from stem cells which Post believes will benefit the environment. His argument? The stem cells taken from one animal could generate a million times more meat than the actual animal.

He explains, “Right now, we are using 70 percent of all our agricultural capacity to grow meat through livestock. You are going to need alternatives. If we don’t do anything, meat will become a luxury food and will become very expensive. Livestock also contributes a lot to greenhouse gas emissions, more so than our entire transport system.”

The “in vitro” burger will make its debut at a non-disclosed venue in the West End this week and if all goes well, the thought is that artificial meat could potentially go on sale in the next five to ten years. But, is this a step to far? Can you stomach that insane price time? Let us know in the (new and improved) comments below. (The Metro)