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First Taste Of Test-tube Burger Declared "close To Meat"
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The world's first laboratory-grown
beef burger was flipped out of a petri dish and into a frying
pan on Monday, with food tasters declaring it tasted "close to
Grown in-vitro from cattle stem cells at a cost of 250,000
euros ($332,000), the burger was cooked and eaten in front of
television cameras to gain the greatest media coverage for the
culmination of a five-year science experiment.
Resembling a standard circular-shaped red meat patty, it was
created by knitting together 20,000 strands of laboratory-grown
protein, combined with other ingredients normally used in
burgers, such as salt, breadcrumbs and egg powder. Red beet
juice and saffron were added to give it colour.
The two food tasters were reserved in their judgement,
perhaps keen not to offend their host at the London event,
noting the burger's "absence of fat".
Pressed for a more detailed description of the flavour, food
writer Josh Schonwald said the cultured beef had an "animal
protein cake" like quality to it, adding that he would like to
try it with some of the extras often served with traditional
burgers - salt, pepper, ketchup and jalepenos.
Even the scientist behind the burger's creation, vascular
biologist Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands,
was relatively muted in his praise of its flavour.
"It's a very good start," he told the hundreds of reporters
who had gathered to watch the meat being cooked and served.
The Dutch scientist's aim was to show the world that in the
future meat will not necessarily have to come from the
environmentally and economically costly rearing and slaughtering
of millions of animals.
"Current meat production is at its maximum - we need to come
up with an alternative," he said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says meat production is
projected to rise to 376 million tonnes by 2030 from 218 million
tonnes annually in 1997-1999, and demand from a growing world
population is expected to rise beyond that.
According to a 2006 report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO), industrialised agriculture contributes on a
"massive scale" to climate change, air pollution, land
degradation, energy use, deforestation and biodiversity decline.
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