Test Tube Burger?
It sounds a little like a science experiment gone wrong. But some consider it a science experiment gone right.
Dr. Mark Post, a scientist in the Netherlands, has successfully grown hamburger meat in a little petri dish by taking muscle tissue from a cow (the part of the meat we eat as burgers) … and figured out how to grow it until there’s enough to make a patty.
Science fiction is now science fact.
It’s an idea that was dreamed up a long time ago … but isn’t actually that easy to do. And it won’t be showing up at a grocery store near you anytime soon.
The burger Dr. Post was able to make cost around $325,000 to get to this point. Just $324,999 shy of a McDonald’s dollar menu burger — and that comes with two patties!
But the idea is to one day figure out how to make more meat for less money in a way that’s safe for people, and the environment. Still, the idea of it just plain creeps some people out.
What are the potential benefits?
“If you can grow meat in a laboratory, it means you don’t have to kill animals,” explains Henry Fountain, a New York Times writer . Nine billion animals are killed for food in the U.S., each year, reports PBS.
It could help solve some world hunger problems. If we can grow as much meat as we want, then we can hopefully feed as many people as we need to. PBS News Hour Extra reports that “global demand for meat will double in the next 40 years.” Adding that, “the world’s population is estimated to grow from 7 billion to around 9 billion by 2050.” These are issues we need to address test tube beef or not.
It could help the environment. Raising livestock takes a lot of time, energy, and space. And, hard to imagine but true, cows’ flatulence (a fancy word for farts!) are actually, when we’re talking in the millions, surprisingly bad for the environment. PBS reports that “livestock is responsible for nearly 20 percent of all greenhouse-gas emissions and cattle consume 10 percent of the world’s fresh water supplies.
It might be safer. In theory, you have more control in a lab.
For some, it just isn’t natural. And that’s reason enough. And some believe that science should play less of a role in food and not more. Some say the solution is simply to eat less meat, or none at all. Skeptics aren’t even convinced it should count as real meat. Do you think it should?
WOULD YOU EAT A BURGER MADE THIS WAY?
Somebody may get the chance soon. The first test tube hamburger is scheduled to be grilled later this year, possibly to much fanfare by a celebrity chef.
What do you think? Is this the right way to go?