Now scientists are working to create meat in a laboratory.
To produce the patty, researchers will mix lab-grown beef muscle cells with salt, egg powder and bread crumbs. Beet juice and saffron will be added to give a more natural color to the bloodless burger. It’ll be fried up in a pan, and seasoned with a dash of salt and pepper. With any luck, the burger should taste pretty much like your typical ground beef.
Eventually, these brave new ranchers hope that this brave new meat will keep up with a growing population and a growing demand for meat. Mark Post is one of the new cowboys:
“What we are going to attempt is important because I hope it will show cultured beef has the answers to major problems that the world faces,” Post said in a statement issued in advance of the tasting. “Our burger is made from muscle cells taken from a cow. We haven’t altered them in any way. For it to succeed, it has to look, feel and hopefully taste like the real thing.”
Over the past five years, Post and his colleagues in the Netherlands have worked out a system to take stem cells from a living cow, put them into a nutrient solution, and grow them into small strands of muscle tissue. About 20,000 such strands are needed to make one five-ounce burger.
A California-based venture called Modern Meadow is working on 3-D printing techniques for creating artificial meat as well as artificial leather from cultured cells. Andras Forgacs, the company’s co-founder and chief executive, said he expected to come out with commercial leather products within the next few years. “Meat is going to take longer,” he said, due to the technical and regulatory complexities.
Forgacs, whose father cooked up and ate a 3-D-printed pork chop during a TedMed presentation in 2011, doesn’t see Post as a rival. “We’re excited about the progress that Mark Post has made, and will be tuning in to see how his tasting goes,” he told NBC News.
“This is a field that’s going to require innovation from many corners of the world,” Forgacs said. “I hope this creates more awareness for this emerging field of technology.”
A 3-D bioprinted pork chop? A burger from a petri dish? Once again, technology comes to the rescue. One wonders, however, what what sort of surprising consequences are also on the menu.
Question: would you eat this stuff? What if a 3-D bioprinted pork chop tasted better than a “real” one? What does “real” mean in this context? Does it matter?