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Would You Eat A Test-Tube Burger?

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The world’s first burger produced in a petri dish gets mixed reviews.

Yesterday, the first test-tube produced burger made its debut. The burger cost $330,000 and took years to develop. The man-made meat is not a meat substitute like a soy burger or veggie burger; it’s created from stem cells of a live beef animal that have been cultured in a petri dish. Sound appetizing? I’m not so sure.

I watched the burger being prepared on the Today Show yesterday, and it appears the product needs lots of added ingredients to taste like the real deal.

The meat is grey in texture, so the manufacturers added salt, egg powder and breadcrumbs to improve the taste. Red beetroot juice and saffron were used to acquire the distinctive red of normal raw ground beef.

The individuals who sampled the burger noted a crunchy texture on the outside with a juicy, tender texture on the inside of the burger. While it had “intense flavor,” samplers thought the absence of fat made it taste more like an artificial burger than real beef.

 

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A Today Show poll asked viewers if they would eat lab-grown meat. With 1,023 votes in when I last checked, 94% said no, and only 6% said they would try the test-tube beef.

Proponents of the test-tube meat argue that this it is more environmentally friendly and will be the more economical option in years to come. Vegetarian groups aren’t exactly clamoring to eat the product, but they do recognize it as “cruelty-free.”

I’m not so sure how I feel about this. First off, the sight of this raw product doesn’t look appetizing. Call me crazy but I want my beef to be 100% beef, not stem cells of a beef animal mixed with breadcrumbs and red beet juice.

Secondly, we are faced with the sobering prospect of having to produce 70% more food by 2050 to feed a projected world population of 9 billion people. While livestock production might be more costly in terms of resources than grains, animal protein is a more nutrient-dense food. Plus, livestock production utilizes land that largely isn’t arable, allowing livestock to convert forage into an extremely valuable food source that most humans prefer.

It’s also a process that is becoming tremendously more efficient. The U.S., for instance, produces as much beef in volume today as it did 50 years ago, but with 25 million fewer cattle. How’s that for efficiency? Don’t count out the American farmer and rancher.

What about you? Would you try test tube beef? Do you think it’s a good way to feed meat to the masses? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

For further reading on this topic, check out the following reports:

NBC News: Test-Tube Burger Hits The Spot

The Journal: This Is The World’s First Test Tube Burger

New York Daily News: World’s First Test Tube Burger Short On Flavor

ABC News: The Man Behind The $300,000 Test Tube Burger

 

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Discuss this Blog Entry 10

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 6, 2013

It is a chemical chitstorm!!

Step awn (not verified)
on Aug 6, 2013

Mark my words, the same people who rail against GMO's, antibiotics, and growth hormones will be proponents of laboratory meat.

Pharmer Phil (not verified)
on Aug 6, 2013

As far as I am concerned it is not a burger until they can also grow the fat and other cells in vitro and then combine it all into something that is reasonably equivalent to a burger without all the other additions. Then I would want the FDA to determine whether it had all of the many assets of ground beef (equivalent protein, vitamins, minerals) and no safety problems. At that point I would be willing to at least try it, providing I could afford it.. I bet it would make Kobe beef seem cheap by comparison. As far as feeding the masses....I don't think they will come even close to the efficiency of the beef cow in producing protein within my lifetime.

Miles (not verified)
on Aug 6, 2013

I find it a bit ironic that the EU bans all sorts of Genetically Modified (GM) crops, yet is the host of the new artificial meat that is modified to grow in a test tube??

shaun evertson (not verified)
on Aug 6, 2013

Hate to rain on the frankenbeef parade, but the universe doesn't grant waivers. The laws of thermodynamics and conservation of matter/energy still apply. Labs/factories directly producing foodstuffs will require the same energy/matter inputs as nature and unless someone can prove it to me will never be as efficient as nature. And do folks REALLY want the government (fda) designing and approving artificial food? REALLY? Soylent Green, anyone?

on Aug 6, 2013

How many cows had to die to produce that fake burger?

Bo (not verified)
on Aug 8, 2013

Its rediculous that someone would allow another idiot to spend that much $ to produce a fake burger. It would take a fool to have ANY association with that.

Terry Church (not verified)
on Aug 11, 2013

This is artificially produced meat. People are more and more wanting to know where their food comes from. They want less hormones and antibiotics and other additives. Just think of what all has to be added to this lab created beef. I personally don't want my beef from a lab. I'll just stay with REAL BEEF!

on Aug 16, 2013

Let me look out my window at the pasture...yep, 100's of beautiful test tubes out there grazing in the sunshine!

I can see it now: The McTuber, the Double Tuber w/Tofu, and the Filet-O-Test Tube. Yum. No happy meal there, people!

CWB-Lee NH (not verified)
on Oct 31, 2014

Real beef texture, real beef taste, comes from live animals that have lived and are slaughtered. This quasi-beef like product is not from a cut of beef as in ground Chuck or sirloin. This is just a bunch of sad cow cells that grow something unknown. I'm not sure if it's muscle or what it is. I don't understand the why of this whole thing. It's not to fix anything as it still has input requirements such as heat and nutrients. I grow my veggies in my backyard garden because I enjoy the flavor of farm fresh and the high quality nutrients and organic side. Why would anyone grow meat that does not taste the same as real meat and needs props. I vote no and to be honest it should be closed down before dome crazy disease comes from it.

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BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”

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Amanda Radke

A fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell, SD, Amanda grew up on a purebred Limousin cattle operation in which she and husband Tyler are active. She graduated with a degree in agriculture journalism...

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