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The taste of tomorrow?

What is being billed as the world’s first (and most expensive) cultured hamburger patty debuted in London today, NPR reports. And the project’s anonymous funder was unveiled, too. It’s Google’s Sergei Brin.

The unveiling of “cultured beef,” as the burger is branded, was a production worthy of the Food Network era, complete with chatty host, live-streamed video, hand-picked taste testers, a top London chef and an eager audience (made up mostly of journalists). Rarely has a single food gotten such star treatment.

But this was no ordinary food launch, of course. The burger, which began as just a few stem cells extracted from a cow’s shoulder, represents a technology potentially so disruptive that it has attracted the support of Google co-founder Sergei Brin.

“Sometimes a new technology comes along and it has the capability to transform how we view the world,” Brin says in a promotional video released Monday, the same day he was unmasked as the anonymous donor who ponied up money to grow the burger.

Cultured Beef is not the first company to culture meat. Missouri’s Modern Meadow (which is backed by PayPal’s Peter Thiel) is working on lab-grown meat and leather and already produced a tiny pork chop. Check out my interview with CEO Andras Forgacs on Google+ here.

Assuming the price came down, would you eat a lab-grown burger?  Is it more or less off-putting than the current state of industrially raised beef?

Stett Holbrook

Stett is a senior editor at MAKE with abiding interest in food and drink, bicycles, woodworking, and environmentally sound human enterprises. He is the father of two young makers.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

Contact Stett with tips and story ideas on:

*Food
*Sustainable/green design
*Science
*Young Makers
*Action sports


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Comments

  1. n_e_i_L says:

    This is how meat wad was born…

  2. Ron Barry says:

    The future tastes baaaaaaaaad. (i had to do that before Andy did)

  3. 404_name_not_found says:

    i don’t really care, i’m gonna eat soylent green.

  4. tstupple says:

    There is one too many zeros in the title

  5. rbotguy says:

    As long as the stem cells were treated humanely and allowed to freely roam a clean sunny petri dish, I’d be fine with it.

  6. Maynard_Rowley says:

    I’d definitely eat lab grown meat over factory farmed meat. I don’t see an issue with it at all. We’re already eating meat that’s being raised in an unnatural manner so what’s the difference? At least lab grown meat is cruelty free. I’m also going to assume it’s better for the environment.

    For what it’s worth I don’t have any issues with animals being raised for food as long as it is done in a natural and ethical manner (ie: think old macdonald’s farm).

    1. Paula Ball says:

      large scale meat production is never humane, could never be profitable. Even if it was I see nothing humane about killing an animal for it’s flesh and plunging needles into them for their marrow is in no way humane.

      1. Isn’t extracting stem cells is more humane than slaughtering an animal? And you would need far fewer animals and therefore fewer resources (grain, water, land) to support them.

  7. izmir says:

    wooov a very successful.