Fresh from the lab: The stem cell burger

While many fast food offerings may look like they belong in a petri dish, what about a burger that’s actually been grown in one? In a bid to develop a sustainable alternative to animal rearing, scientists in the Netherlands have grown small pieces of beef muscle in a laboratory, to which they hope to add blood and artificially grown fat to produce a fully functioning hamburger by the autumn.

Professor Mark Post, who is leading the research, estimates that the cost of producing the hamburger will be around $300,000, but insists that ‘once the principle has been demonstrated, production techniques will be improved and costs will come down.’ The ‘meat’ as its stands is only about 3cm long, pinkish-yellow in appearance and (unsurprisingly) has not been tasted by any of the scientists just yet. While the stem cells used were taken from foetal calf serum (hungry?), scientists say that they could, in future, be taken from a live animal through biopsy.

‘Meat demand is going to double in the next 40 years and right now we are using 70% of all our agricultural capacity to grow meat through livestock,’ Post told The Guardian. ‘You can easily calculate that we need alternatives. If you don’t do anything meat will become a luxury food and be very, very expensive.’ Obviously, the environmental implications are huge, and let’s be honest- the contents of the franken-burger are actually likely to be less frightening than your average Big Mac. But what do you think? 

Is lab-meat the stuff of sci-fi or worth a try? Let us know below.                                                         

Caroline Freestone

Caroline is an English graduate from Bristol University, with experience in fashion and beauty journalism for a number of on and offline publications. With previous work experience in events and PR she is currently the Web & Social Media Editor for Positive Luxury.

  • NB

    This got to be the pièce de résistance for meal attended by A.I.
    And who knows, maybe by then they might even get the stem cells by live animals: us

  • Arthur Pound

    Cringe. I think I’ve never felt more like turning vegan. I’d rather eat my dog.

  • Sue Ture

    I rather to eat my own dog? How nonsense. For experience I know that A.I. can makes things tastier! Please reffered to mr Blumenthal! bBut I dont prefer to eat human stem cell! Does this means cannibalist?!

  • Jeff_Burke

    That is disgusting – the government needs stricter regulations!

  • Martha Swales

    It seems pretty creepy but I don’t see why everyone is so adverse to it. We all know that the way we produce meat at the moment is unsustainable, frequently inhumane and increases the risk of developing potential pandemic pathogens but we all still eat it. Is this really worse?