First taste of test-tube burger close to meat
Updated: 2013-08-06 07:22
The world's first lab-grown beef burger is seen after it was cooked at a launch event in west London August 5, 2013.[Photo/Agencies]
The World Health Organization (WHO) says meat production is projected to rise to 376 million tonnes by 2030 from 218 million tonnes annually in 1997-1999, and demand from a growing world population is expected to rise beyond that.
According to a 2006 report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), industrialised agriculture contributes on a "massive scale" to climate change, air pollution, land degradation, energy use, deforestation and biodiversity decline.
The meat industry contributes about 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, a proportion expected to grow as consumers in fast-developing countries such as China and India eat more meat, the report said.
Chris Mason, a professor of regenerative medicine at University College London, who was not involved in the research, said it was "great pioneering science" with the potential to ease environmental, health and animal welfare problems.
But, he added: "whilst the science looks achievable, the scalable manufacturing will require new game-changing innovation".
Post said he was confident his concept can be scaled up to offer a viable alternative to animal meat production, but said it may be another 20 years before lab-grown meat appears on supermarket shelves.
He also conceded that the flavour of his meat must be improved if it is to become a popular choice.
Post resisted requests from journalists from all over the world eager to try a morsel of the world's first cultured beef burger, saying there was not enough to go around.
Instead, he said, his children would be offered the leftovers. ($1 = 0.7528 euros)