Test Tube Burgers

We all probably know a vegetarian here and there, and possibly even a vegan.  The reasons for eliminating meat from your diet can vary, be they moral, dietary or environmental.  And we’ve all had meat substitutes, some far better than others.  Pretty much anything vegan that I’ve tried has been dismal, such as vegan macaroni and cheese.  It was like sadness in a box.  One of the reasons that people don’t eat meat is for environmental reasons, livestock constituting a significant strain on the globe.  It takes a lot of land, energy and water to feed and maintain the meat industry, and the fact of the matter is that it comes with a significant environmental cost.

So, what to do about it?  A team of researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands is attempting to create the world’s first synthesized hamburger from stem cells.  We’re not talking about tofu, or some other bean derivative, we’re talking about lab-engineered meat.  The first results are expected to be bland, and the product will eventually be ground up with blood and some artificial fat in order to make the ‘burger’ more authentic.  The scientists are doing this in order to pioneer techniques we could use in order to lessen the environmental footprint of meat.  However, this first effort will cost $200,000, so for whatever environmental benefit there is, a burger that’s this expensive, this tasteless, and this weird, does not sound like a winning proposition.  For as much as I’m all for the environment, I’m going to stick to my carnivorous tendencies.

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