World’s first hamburger made with a synthetic meat protein derived from bovine stem cells will be publicly consumed in later 2012 after being prepared by a celebrity chef. Scientists at Maastricht University have produced sausage by March 2012 and will plan to produce hamburger by September 2012. Here are some important points about the artificial meat or In-vitro meat:
There are various names for artificial meat such as in vitro meat, cultured meat or shmeat. It is an animal meat but has never been part of a complete, living animal. As of now there are several projects going on production of in-vitro meat, but it has never been produced for public consumption. The first meats successfully grown in a lab included goldfish and lamb
- Hamburger made from artificial beef protein could be a milestone in the development of novel ways to meet the global demand for meat, which is expected to double by 2050.
- The method involves using the animal stem cells that looks like, and hopefully taste like, meat.
- The technical challenges have included giving the meat a pinkish colour and the right texture for cooking and eating, as well as ensuring that it feels and tastes like real meat.
- If successful, billions of animals would be spared from slaughter.
- It would reduce the environmental impacts of livestock production, which account for 18% of greenhouse-gas emissions. It could also cut by 90% the land- and water-use footprint of meat production.
- It has been postulated that the lab-grown meat could be healthier — free of hormones, bacteria like salmonella and E.coli, and tweaked to contain a lower fat content. This would reduce the threat of swine and avian flu outbreaks.
- The negative point is that consumers may find the notion of lab-grown meat creepy or unnatural – a ‘Frankenstein food’ reminiscent of the Soylent Green at the heart of the 1973 sci-fi film of the same name.
- Its not completely free of cruelty. Animals will still have to be slaughtered to provide the stem cells.
- There could be unforeseen health consequences to eating lab-grown meat