It will “taste good enough” scientists behind the world’s first test tube burger have told the global media, hours before its London unveiling today.
The pocket-busting £250,000 5oz burger, which is made from lab-grown cultured beef, is to be prepared and served to journalists in an unnamed London location today, by creator Professor Mark Post.
Post will give a brief explanation of how the burger is made, outlining the way the 20,000 individual artificial strips of beef are made and coloured, before it is cooked.
While some have described the “in vitro” burger as a solution to world hunger, others have questioned the need to pump the Western world with more factory-foods and said world hunger can be solved by distributing food more evenly.
Eblex sector director Nick Allen told MeatInfo.co.uk that it was something the organisation was watching with interest, but asked if it could be called meat. "There will be a significant ‘yuck’ factor involved for many. I would much rather have the real thing than a processed substitute like this," he said.
“This science is still in something that is in its infancy and it is difficult to see how something that costs so much has any real practical application in the near future. There are also many unknowns in terms of the resource input and environmental impact that will need to be scrutinised just as closely as the livestock sector currently is."
Reacting to the launch, Friends of the Earth food campaigner Kirtana Chandrasekaran said: "It's really positive that people are talking about alternatives to meat.
"Realistically, consumers won't be able to buy these burgers in shops anytime soon - but we can reduce our meat eating now, which would be better for our health and we'd still have varied diets. Eating less meat and producing it less intensively will help to solve enormous challenges like climate change and feeding the world."
However, of meat production's environmental impact Allen added: "Is this a viable, more environmentally friendly alternative to livestock production in the UK? In this country, beef cattle and sheep typically graze land that cannot be used for any other food production. This is therefore a very sustainable and efficient use of available resources. It would make no environmental or economic sense to take this land out of food production.”
Share your views and take part in a MeatInfo.co.uk poll on lab-grown meat.