Scientists are developing edible meat grown from stem cells, which they hope will replace meat from slaughtered livestock
The race to create edible, lab-generated meat could be about to about to hit the finishing line, as Dutch scientists prepare to slap the first in vitro burger on the barbecue.
A high-profile launch is planned in London sometime this spring. Although details are being kept under wraps, the professor leading the research has said he wants one of Britain’s top celebrity chefs to cook his creation.
Dr. Mark Post has suggested the burger he’s growing from bovine stem cells could be “”flame grilled”” by Heston Blumenthal, the three-star chef whose application of food science has led to dishes like snail porridge, and bacon and egg ice cream.
Alternatively, Post once told the BBC: “”It would be great if someone like Jamie Oliver agreed to cook it for us, and a famous actress ate it.””
There is method behind the moves to launch the lab-grown meat with a media mega-splash.
By securing celebrity endorsement, Post hopes to convince the public — and investors — that the in vitro burger is not a gastronomic gimmick but a serious response to ethical, nutritional and environmental challenges on a global scale.
“Current livestock meat production is just not sustainable,”” Post said in a recent statement.
“”Right now, we are using more than 50 per cent of all our agricultural land for livestock. It’s simple maths. We have to come up with alternatives. If we don’t do anything, meat will become a luxury food and be very, very expensive.”
The UN’s World Health Organization estimates global demand for meat will double in the next 40 years. With so much farmland already used for meat production, and with cattle consuming 10 percent of the world’s fresh water supplies, campaigners say conventional animal raising is unsustainable.
Meat production is also blamed for making a major contribution to global warming, through methane released by flatulent animals, and by the decaying remains of crops needed to feed livestock. A Dutch study has claimed switching to a low meat diet could cut the cost of fighting climate change by $20 trillion up to 2050.
Supporters of the lab-cultured burger say the development of commercially viable in vitro meat production could bring similar savings without anybody having to give up meat. In fact even vegetarians would be able to eat burgers, steaks or chicken breasts grown from stem cells without the need to slaughter animals.”