First-ever public tasting of Cultured Beef burger in London on Monday; highlights urgent need for sustainable food
· The world faces critical food shortages in the near future as demand for meat is expected to increase by more than two-thirds by 2050*
· Cultured Beef burger represents a crucial first step in finding a sustainable alternative to meat production that’s more ethical and environmentally-friendly
LONDON, Friday 2nd August 2013 – In a world first, Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University is to reveal a Cultured Beef burger at an event in London on Monday. The burger, which will be cooked by frying in a pan, could help solve the coming food crisis and combat climate change.
As the world’s population grows to an estimated 9 billion by the middle of the century, experts believe even intense livestock farming processes will not be able to match the demand from a growing middle class for meat.
Cultured Beef also paves the way for food production that does not burden the environment or require such widespread use of livestock for meat. Commercial production of Cultured Beef could begin within ten to 20 years.
“What we are going to attempt is important because I hope it will show Cultured Beef has the answers to major problems that the world faces,” said Professor Mark Post, whose laboratory at Maastricht University in the Netherlands developed the processes behind Cultured Beef. “Our burger is made from muscle cells taken from a cow. We haven’t altered them in any way. For it to succeed it has to look, feel and hopefully taste like the real thing.”
The burger has been made using Cultured Beef and other ingredients commonly found in similar food products such as salt, egg powder and breadcrumbs. Red beet juice and saffron have been added to bring out its natural colours.
Muscle cells taken from a cow are cultured in a laboratory by scientists who place them in a nutrient solution to create muscle tissue. The tissue is grown by placing the cells in a ring, like a donut, around a hub of gel. The muscle cells grow into small strands of meat. Some 20,000 such strands are need to make one 140g (approx. five ounce) burger.
The burger will be tasted by two volunteers.
Professor Mark Post’s work on Cultured Beef began in 2008, when he was a professor of tissue engineering at Eindhoven University. He joined a programme that had been initiated by Willem van Eelen, an 86-year-old entrepreneur who had long held a fascination for culturing meat. When funding from the Dutch government ran out, Professor Post continued the work, obtaining funding for the current project from a private individual.
*73 percent – World Livestock 2011, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
The event will be livestreamed at culturedbeef.net
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