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Would you eat synthetic meat?

The picture on the left shows the lab-grown meat. On the right, they compare regular meat with Post's creation to show that it is hard to tell the difference between the two.

The picture on the left shows the lab-grown meat. On the right, they compare regular meat with Post's creation to show that it is hard to tell the difference between the two.


Paulina Keber
Staff Writer

Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 1:38 PM -

You may have had the displeasure of eating some scary food in your life, but few items can compare to the 'Frankenburger'. 

What is it, you ask? The Frankenburger was created by Dutch scientists and is the world's first lab-grown hamburger. Essentially, scientists have found a way to develop meat using animal stem cells and plan to hold a public tasting event on August 5, 2013, in London, England, for people to try the synthetic meat. 

Mark Post, a physiology professor at the University of Utrecht and Harvard, is the scientist working on the scientific delicacy. Post has worked on the project for two years and is optimistic the product will one day be massed produced. Some upside to the idea is that the lab-meat would not only have the benefit of avoiding animal slaughter, but it would also cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. This could become a cheaper alternative to regular meat in the future. 

So how is it made? The process involves taking muscle stem cells from a cow and multiplying them. This creates muscle cells that grow fibers which eventually become edible muscle tissue. Post discussed his creation in a TED Talk:

This creation could also be useful for the food industry, but don’t expect to see synthetic meat products in stores anytime soon. It will costs over $340,000 to make the meat being sampled in London. On top of that, it took between seven to eight months to produce. Post wants to make it clear that this is not yet a product, only a concept showing that lab-meat is possible and that scientist have all the variables to one day make this more efficiently. If this is done, Post believes that this idea could be a marketable product in years to come.

This could also change the way vegetarians view meat. Because this method does not involve harming animals, it could mean that some vegetarians may decide to test out the product. 

But others are not so keen on the idea of test tube meat. The biggest concerns are the taste and the texture. Beet juice is currently being used to colour the meat to give it the same look as regular meat. Post also reassures people that the texture is almost the identical to the real thing. As seen in the picture above, it is hard to tell the difference between the two beef patties. But this does not mean that the meat is exactly the same (or not yet at least). Post hopes to continue to gather money and resources to improve the quality of synthetic meat. 

Mark Post discusses, “It doesn't sound entirely appealing (to eat) but from both a human welfare point of view and an animal welfare point of view, this is such a good step in the right direction that I would absolutely try it.” 

Regardless of if science is able to do this, it all falls back on the consumer. People would need to accept this process of creating meat in order for it to be seen as a feasible solution. So would you try this if it one day became available in stores? Answer our poll below and let us know your opinion of the idea in the comment section.

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