$325,000 burger from the Netherlands

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Over two years and around $325,000 were spent to make the world’s first lab-grown meat! How did they make it, why did they do it, and what did it taste like?

lab-grown meat
The lab-grown burger. Delicious or gross?

Well, Dr. Mark Post, the Dutch researcher who created the hamburger at the University of Maastricht, made the burger from a special type of cell. Stem cells can turn into any other cell in the body. Post took some stem cells from cows and made them grow into muscle cells. After he lined up more than 20,000 of the cells into strands, he was able to make a five-ounce patty that was ready for cooking! What’s the point, though, of making meat in a lab, when there are cows everywhere for much cheaper than $325,000!?

The thing is, many cows have to be raised on farms and die for us to have our meat products. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates the United States ate 25.6 billion pounds of meat in 2011 alone. That’s a lot of cow. Many people do not like how many cows humans eat, since we have to kill them. Also, did you know cows contribute to the world’s pollution by emitting nasty gases called methane when they burp or fart? Methane can be 23 times more powerful than the carbon dioxide pollution from a car! This lab-grown meat could possibly be the answer to all of it. Saving cows. Healing the Earth’s atmosphere.

According to three taste-testers who tried the meat, the burger wasn’t bad, but it sure wasn’t good either. The fat-free patty was fried in butter and served with a regular bun, lettuce, and tomatoes. Josh Schonwald, one of the testers, said that “the bite feels like a [normal] hamburger,” but at the same time the meat tasted like “animal cake.” Hm. I’m not sure what animal cake tastes like, but I’d like to give it a try!

Well, if this lab-grown meat saves cow lives, I’m sure that makes the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals happy! After all, they’re dedicated to protecting animal rights. Their leader Ingrid Newkirk, said she will give $1 million for someone to make lab-grown chicken meat!

Burger image courtesy of Maastricht University.