Frankenburger Makes Its Debut

Scientists have finally done it. The world’s first laboratory-grown beef is ready to be sampled at a private tasting event in London and it costs about $330,000 per patty. While culinary academy students may initially feel hesitant to jump on the Frankenburger bandwagon, the faux beef patty may not be as fake as it initially sounds. The synthetic meat is grown in vitro by using stem cells harvested from cows. According to researchers, the stem cells taken from one cow could be used to create a million times more meat than an expert butcher could cut from one animal.

While the nickname makes the beef patty sound more like an abomination than a tasty dinner, it does have some potential benefits that outweigh its test tube origins. Artificial beef will cut down on the amount of land and resources needed to support animals being kept for the food industry. Currently, 70 percent of all agricultural resources goes toward livestock, and the demand for meat is only expected to increase. Since a single cow’s stem cells could be harvested to create such a great quantity of meat, herd sizes will be greatly reduced and land will be freed up for other uses. Even animal rights groups, including PETA, have gotten behind the idea of artificial meat. PETA announced that it supports the research as an endeavor to greatly reduce animal suffering. There is even speculation that since the meat is not being produced from a butchered animal, it may be considered acceptable for vegetarian diets.

Frankenburgers in a restaurant near you?
While environmental groups and animal rights activists have thrown their support behind the creation of the Frankenbuger, those working on their culinary certificates may still be a little wary of jumping on the bandwagon. Currently, everyone from amateur cooks in their home kitchens to master chefs creating meals in five-star restaurants has been fully embracing the farm to table trend in support of local foods. Some people may see using artificial meat as undermining local cattle ranchers and as not quite fitting in with the philosophy of using the freshest ingredients, since the meat was never alive to begin with.

Ultimately, the Frankenburger will still need to pass the test of its initial samplers and then gain the approval of food regulatory bodies, such as the Food and Drug Administration, before you can expect to see it in your local grocery stores. The scientists who have been hard at work developing the artificial patty, though, seem confident that it will be available to the public in as little as ten years.

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