Scientists in Europe have created the world’s first-ever hamburger made in a laboratory.
A celebrity chef served up the burger for a studio audience Monday.
Researchers in the Netherlands used stem cells from cattle to grow strips of beef in a laboratory. The cells were put into a nutrient solution to help them develop into muscle tissue, and they grew into small strands of meat.
It took nearly 20,000 strands to make a single 140-gram (5-ounce) patty, which for Monday’s event was seasoned with salt, egg powder and breadcrumbs. Red beet juice and saffron were added to help the burger look more meat-like; Mark Post said the lab-made patty had a yellowish tinge.
Scientists say it cost more than $330,000 to make the burger. But in the long term the manmade burger could actually save money and help feed the growing number of people with an appetite for beef.
Researchers say it will also be kinder to the environment, reducing the impact on agricultural land and water.
If the product is ever ready for market, national food authorities will likely require data proving the lab meat is safe; there is no precedent. Some experts said officials might regulate the process used to make such meat, similar to how they monitor beer and wine production.
Only one patty was cooked Monday, and the testers each took less than half of it. Post said he would take the leftovers home so his kids can have a taste.