Next on the Grill: Synthetic Meat

The hamburger was fried — in a pan with copious amounts of butter — by an English chef and presented on a plate with a bun, lettuce and tomato slices to Dr. Post, Mr. Schonwald and Hanni Rützler, an Austrian food scientist. Pleas from the journalists and others in the audience for a bite were dismissed by Dr. Post, who said he did not have enough to go around.

He said he was “very happy” with the burger after tasting it, although he acknowledged that the lack of fat was a problem. “We’re working on that,” he said.

Google founder Sergey Brin paid $325,000 for a two-year project to test out the idea of whether or not we can grow meat in a laboratory. The answer so far is: Yes, we can, but it’s crazy expensive. Scaling the production of cultured meat at the moment would have it cost $30 a pound. But we benefit in other ways: Some studies show that producing meat in a lab rather than using livestock would reduce land, water, and energy use, greenhouse gases, and it’d deal with some of the ethical concerns we have about raising animals for their meat.

But also: lab meat doesn’t sound very appetizing, at least to me. And we have no clue about what eating lab meat will do to our bodies down the line. I love me a good burger, but I’d rather avoid eating meat than go for the synthetic kind.

Photo: chichacha

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