Updated: 05/08/2013 12:30 | By Nikki Haynes, contributor, MSN Food

Would you eat meat grown in a lab?

The world’s first test-tube-grown hamburger is being taste-tested. But could you stomach meat grown in a laboratory?


Hamburger (© Jason Alden, Rex Features)

Today the world's first test-tube-grown hamburger is being taste-tested at a secret location. Created by Dutch scientist Dr Mark Post, the first-ever beef patty made in a laboratory will cost whoever fancies eating it a staggering £207,535, making it the world's most expensive burger. The exclusive dish, dubbed the 'test tube burger', will be served up by its maker, Professor Mark Post, in front of journalists at a secret location somewhere in west London.

It's thought the burger will simply be pan-fried, likely by a celebrity chef and tasted by two volunteers - one of whom is thought to be the anonymous donor who made research into the burger possible.

But what exactly will be eaten? Read on to discover the full story.

Towards mass production

'Farmer' Dr Post from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, is growing the minced meat from cow muscle and fat stem cells. And while research costs have pushed up the cost of the prototype burger, he hopes to see mass production, and thus a more affordable product, in the next 10 to 20 years' time. He's confident that over the course of 2012, he'll produce a burger virtually indistinguishable from one bought on the high street.

'Unnatural' experiments

These types of seemingly 'unnatural' experiments may not sit well with some, but Dr Post doesn't believe he's 'playing God', but forging an important development for the food industry. He says: "Meat demand is going to double in the next 40 years. Right now, we are using 70% of all our agricultural capacity to grow meat through livestock. You can easily calculate that we need alternatives. If we don't do anything, meat will become a luxury food and be very, very expensive."

With the world's burgeoning population and lack of space, you can see his point. He says that theoretically, each animal has the capability of producing 100 million burgers. So could laboratory-reared meat also be a solution to the world's food shortage?

For environmentalists, test tube meat would mean that the number of cattle being slaughtered would be greatly reduced and in fact, you don't necessarily have to even kill a cow to extract stem cells. And because livestock produce more greenhouse gas emissions than transport vehicles (39% of all methane, 5% of carbon dioxide and 40% of nitrous oxide), fewer cattle could potentially have a healthy bearing on the Earth's atmosphere.

Scientist measuring liquid into test tubes (© OJO Images, Getty Images)

Farmers' fears

However, not everyone is happy about the development. Farmers will be worst hit if the idea takes off. Myrddin Davies is a fourth-generation farmer from Conwy in North Wales. His farm, Nant y Wrach Bach, has 500 breeding sheep and up to 40 beef cattle, producing PGI Welsh Beef and Welsh Lamb. He said: "I'm not convinced by meat which is produced in test tubes. You have to ask if it is viable in the first instance as the cost of growing it is so high and, secondly, what are the repercussions of producing meat this way? Is it safe? It is chemically produced and no substitution for real beef. They are totally different products."

He goes on to say: "Compare growing beef in a test tube to how farmers produce beef; our cattle is born and reared naturally on fresh pastures. We boast traditional farming practices which have been passed down from generation to generation. It's this heritage and tradition which produces quality beef with a distinct taste.

"Provenance is so important that the European Commission has awarded Welsh Beef and Welsh Lamb the coveted PGI status which guarantees its origin and associated quality that cannot be replicated in a test tube."

While the majority of us would rather eat natural meat, our population is still on the increase and with food prices on the up, test tube meat could be the answer we need. At a supermarket near you soon(ish)...

Vote now
An error occurred while trying to display the data. Please try again later.

Would you eat meat grown in a laboratory?

Thanks for being one of the first people to vote. Results will be available soon. Check for results

  1.  
    16 %
    I wouldn't have a problem with it. Meat is meat!
    63 votes
  2.  
    34 %
    I would, but only once it's proven safe to do so.
    135 votes
  3.  
    13 %
    Probably not but maybe I would if I was starving.
    54 votes
  4.  
    37 %
    Never. I find the idea totally off-putting.
    149 votes

Total Responses: 401
Not scientifically valid. Results are updated every minute.

Would you eat test-tube-reared meat? Or do you think it's unnatural, or even unethical? Join the debate in the comments section below and vote in our poll on Facebook.

30Comments
avatar
There are farmers out there using traditional methods handed down through generations.  They do not produce the majority of our food.
Most of our food is reared in factory conditions because it is cheaper to produce it this way.  I am not judging the farmers who do this, we asked for cheaper meat, they supplied, something had to give.
Large number of food animals born are from artificial insemination, so if it wasn't grown in a test tube it may have been born from one.
We have inter-bred etc, for yield of milk, meat, wool, eggs et cetera for thousands of years, then complain about DNA tampering.
We feed livestock chemically enhanced feed then criticise a lab for trying to find an alternative.  Seriously evaluate what we already do before condemning others.
I like butter, but I still eat a butter/ marg blend most often, it's easier to spread and I'm lazy.  I still buy butter, and prefer the taste, while people like me exist so will butter manufacture, others prefer margarine, their choice.  I expect there will be a taste difference between the traditional meat and manufactured variety, but to be honest I doubt most would notice the difference in a seasoned 80% or less meat burger.
I applaud the research, even if it goes nowhere it is good to see people are willing to try to help the world at large and suffer the flack for doing so.  He is not killing anyone in fact could be doing the exact opposite if he makes food more affordable to the world at large.

avatar

 

                                  ..................FRANKENBURGER!...............

 

I wouldn't eat this thing even if it was nestled in a freshly baked sesame bap, topped with tasty cheese, crisp, fresh salad a slice of pickle and tangy sauce.

 

Then again, it might make a refreshing change from the minced eyelids and dangly bits that go into your average burger!

 

 

 

avatar
Stewart
You type a good case for farm produce, but I think you are mistaking agriculture and nature.  Nature never made anything like a Friesian  cow or the turkeys we eat for Christmas.  There are similarities but what we eat is largely not natural.
I doubt any of us truly know what we are eating most of the time.  There are a number of practices that have been legal and encouraged for years that provide better yield at lower prices, as long as we see a slab of meat we expect it's all OK.
I am not going to drone on about the things we do, but this method of food production is a potential way forward and we will have as much idea what is in our food then as we do now.

Charity for Africa, simple explanation  which I expect you already know.  Government want to spend money on military to repress populace, we provide money to feed the people, government don't need to spend that money on the people so can buy more guns and fund more troops.  Basically our charity indirectly funds corruption and injustice.
There are exceptions to this and it is very surface generalisations, but there is enough truth in it for me not to have any interest in giving to them.  The people will suffer with or without my money, until the corruption is brought down substantially funding them will help very few.  We have corruption here too, but it's amateur hour comparatively.

avatar
BUT STILL WE HAVE THE SAME OLD STORIES OF THE STARVING, 100 YEARS ON AND NOTHING HAS BE DONE.

WHERE ARE THE WATER INSTALLATIONS IN AFRICA.
WHERE ARE THE NEW HOUSES FOR THEM TO LIVE IN.
WHERE ARE THE SUPERMARKETS.
WHERE ARE THE POWER STATIONS GET THE IDEA.

I NEVER SEEN ANY GO UP, SO YOU HAVE TO ASK. AFTER ALL THAT MONEY GONE ABROAD. WHY HAVE WE NOT SEEN PIPE SYSTEMS LAID IN THE GROUND TO CARRY THE WATER TO THEM, AND PIPE FEED THEM.

EVERYTHING THESE DAYS IS SUCH A DAM LIE, IM SICK OF IT.

23/02/2012 01:21
avatar

Fifty or so years ago, the wheat industry decided to cross breed wheat to make the stalks shorter and the heads bigger. This was supposed to solve the world hunger problem and make the wheat tolerant of bad weather. The real problem is that nobody bothered to test this new "wheat" to see if it was suitable for human consumption. Now, fifty years later, there are more wheat allergies/intolerances and celiac disease than ever before in human history.

I say knock it off with the frankenfood! It's making people fat, unhealthy and God knows what other problems it's going to cause in the future. We need to get back to the natural foods our ancesors ate, the food that our bodies are designed to digest properly and get maximum nutrients from. I won't be touching this frankenfood any more than I eat frankenwheat.

20/02/2012 20:20
avatar
Not much chance of it getting mad cow disease or foot and mouth i suppose. And it should be pure beef, no hooves, eyes, fat or gristle.

Bring it on I say Tongue outThumbs up
avatar
No i would not eat this, as this generation makes to many mistakes in there jobs, and i don,t care attitude.

And besides god knows what there putting in it, and half the time they will not tell you anyway.

Why would you trust some one with your life, when they can,t be honest ???????????????

Na you can keep it, i prefer farm produce naturally grown in a field over any of the nosense you have for sale in supermarkets today, never did me any harm and my family has been eating proper meals for years, and has everything i need in one fantastic meal.

NNaaaa you can keep the test tube meat, PROBLEM WITH YOU PEOPLE TODAY, YOUR PLAYING AROUND WITH LIFE TO MUCH, LIFE IS ALREADY PERFECT AS IT WAS PUT TOGETHER AND WHO EVER DESIGNED HUMANS AND ANIMALS, MADE IT PERFECT.

ITS HUMAN MEDALLING THAT WILL MESS UP LIFE, YOU CAN,T HELP IT. GOT TO FIDDLE AND GOT TO KEEP PUSHING BOUNDARIES UNTILL, SOME THING COMES ALONG AND YOU DON,T KNOW HOW TO PUT IT RIGHT.

STOP PLAYING GOD, LET LIFE FLOURISH NATURALLY.

20/02/2012 19:13
avatar

The world is in some state and these guys want £207,535 for a burger, are you kidding me.

This world has its priorities all mixed up, as usual.

20/02/2012 20:16
avatar

If compared to the company the golden arches, just put a round shaped piece of corrigated cardboard in a seeded bun. It will taste the same and be safer for you and better for the enviroment !

 

08/03/2012 11:58
avatar

Elizabeth Lynch, didn't you read what it said?

 

"cow muscle and fat stem cells"

 

Grown from stem cells, which you don't have many of and I would assume a cow doesn't. But you don't have to actually kill cow to get it. You could take all you needed from a single blood test, really. So it may not be vegetarian, but it will be less painful for the cow than the massititus they get from being milked (which, as any breastfeeding mother will tell you, is excruciating), so it would be a bit hypocritical for a vegetarian to say no. It wouldn't be vegan, true. I'd class it as an animal produce, rather than meat I suppose.

avatar
No wonder we can,t trust anyone or any company anymore, this is not some thing that is going to get solved over night, this corrupt attitude and lies most mp,s and business,s tell seems to be more and more business,s alround in there thousands, shame on you. For not being able to tell the truth, you had the choice yet like most people these days you cut corners to get ahead to lie and cheat, and for what. You could of got there in the normal way, but you are afraid of hard human work, it scares you to deaf.
24/02/2012 15:26
avatar

After watching a horrendous slaughterhouse video the other day (it still disturbs me when I think of the look on the amimal face as become aware of what happening) I think it is a brilliant idea.  It will take the injustice of killing a perfectly innocent animal out of an everyday cooked meal, just because animals cant talk it dosent mean they dont feel pain or worry or panick.  I dont care about the  farmers that will have to give up their wonderful lifestyles just like they dont care about the animals they send to slaughter - hurry up with this research and while were at it lets hope this will help cure famine and starvation and reduce costs to the everyday family, computers were supposed to be bad for the future at one point but now we wouldnt live without them, we never had TVs or cars at one point either - evolution will happen regardless of a few biggoted non believers, lets push forward, Im one of gods creatures to and I would not like to be eaten by any1 !!!

 

23/02/2012 09:13
avatar

no way.no thanks.no test tube burgies for me

 

we should call them BURGIES.

08/03/2012 11:52
avatar

I'd try it. I would want to make sure plenty of testing was done to ensure it was safe first, but I wouldn't outright reject it under the basis of "it ain't natural."

 

I can see the benefits, especially from a moral point of view of not having to kill anything.

 

Will it be a vegetarian option? Would a vegetarian eat it? Consdiering no animal was harmed in the making of the burger? Technically, you could say it is not meat. But if someone had grown you a new heart the same way and put it in you, would you take it?

23/02/2012 12:47
avatar
The need for animal protein in the world in the future could only be satisfied by this or another possible methodology as we do not have the amount of agricultural land in the world to produce what will be required to keep the meat production at an economic cost. Further, animal proteins produced on good agricultural land are in fact a poor return on the possible uses of that land to produce other valuable commodities. The reduction in animal greenhouse gasses would almost be equivalent to removing nearly all the vehicles from the roads, such is the volume and and volatility of thee gasses produced  by agricultural animals.
23/02/2012 16:05
avatar
No I wouldn't choose to eat it , but the labels on this product could make all the difference , between buying it , knowing what it is and buying it completely unaware of what it actually is !! For instance it could be labelled as hand reared in sterile conditions , or hand reared in a positive environment  and people would assume it was a genuine cow and a genuine farm ! Just as we are hoodwinked at the moment over egg ,pig, cattle production etc etc . Unfortunately production being the operative word !
05/08/2013 15:05
avatar

It says above test tube meat could be the answer we need,,   Maybe the answer is go vegetarian,.

05/08/2013 16:45
avatar

I hope it works, I was under the impression that most of the meat we eat now has probably been frozen for several years already so the shortage is probably a lot worse than we know.

and I have heard about the shortage getting worse and the fact of eating insects could become the norm so again, everything is because of how we see things already, if we were brought up and had locusts for Sunday dinner we wouldn't know any different, my only concern would be long term effects, if eating any of this stuff is bad for us, but after reading about how our current food is produced I cant imagine it would hurt. 

chemically made food could actually be what makes food replicators works or possible, once everything is broken down to a chemical formula, we have 3d printers which can make most things that you can draw and I believe they can make things from food as well, I cant imagine any of these things would have been accepted back in Victorian times.

05/08/2013 15:56
avatar
i would personally more happy to eat artificial meat safe in the knowledge that its more enviromentally friendly & helping people to stop people dying of starvation, i would care too much about the taste as i don't eat much red meat anyway
Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

more on msn food