back to article Boffins plan to drop €250,000 TEST-TUBE BURGER on London

It's the mega-pricey cultured-meat slab without any of the grease, but would you wolf down a five-ounce lab-bred burger? The world's most expensive piece of fast food - a meat patty made up of cultured meat that cost a massive €250,000 (£211,000, $325,000) to create - will soon be served in London. Designed by a group of …


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  1. Silverburn

    Dilema... 200,000 MacDonalds Cheese burgers and die from a heart attack caused by cholesterol poisoning, or eat one £200,000 burger and die from a heart attack caused by imminent bankruptcy.

    Decisions, decisions....

    I guess it comes down to whether you get fries and "diet" coke with the lab-burger.

    1. Simon Harris

      Re: Dilemma...

      "I guess it comes down to whether you get fries and "diet" coke with the lab-burger."

      and I bet if you ask for an orange juice as your soft drink, they still say no!

  2. Phil E Succour

    Too much methane

    >>cut back humanity's reliance on huge herds of methane-spewing cows.

    Spewing?...I thought the methane came from the other end.

    1. Richard Wharram

      Re: Too much methane

      Nope. The majority is from burps not farts.

      1. batfastad
        Thumb Up

        Re: Too much methane

        Ha ha! That was a fact I've known for years but never thought it would be required on this, an IT site. Have an upvote!

      2. Wize

        Re: Too much methane

        Bang goes my idea of fitting flare stacks (as per oil rigs) to burn off the excess methane.

        Or, with a pilot light, it could make them flame throwers. Might be more effective to use as a perimeter defence than guard dogs.

        Ah well, my plans have gone up in smoke. At least I didn't go on dragons den with it.

  3. Smallbrainfield

    Well I'll eat it if no-one else will.

    A burger prepared by SCIENCE has far greater appeal than one prepared by a spotty youth.

  4. nexsphil

    This is fucking good actually

    I love my meat, and there's no way I'm giving it up, so it'll be a big fucking weight off my mind if the nerds perfect this process and start churning out unconscious meaty products. Like a lot of people reaching middle age, the extremely faint yet undeniably possible threat of post-mortem judgement has, in the past, made me think of going veggie. I simply doubt that any super-intelligent deity would suck on my crass protestations that 'they're just animals', or that 'they like being farmed, it's been thousands of years etc etc'. So instead I've just had to come to terms with the fact that farming meat is evil, I'm gonna eat it regardless, so I'm evil. With this little advancement I can die easy.

    1. Professor Clifton Shallot

      Re: This is fucking good actually

      If that dietarily dogmatic deity had not meant us to eat animals, why did it make them out of meat?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You know that YOU are made out of meat too, right?

        If that dietarily dogmatic deity had not meant us to eat animals, why did it make them out of meat?

        As fine an argument in the defense of cannibalism as ever I've seen. Pass me the salt and pepper and turn your back on me for a moment, won't you?

        (Test Question from Topanga Cabal The Twelve Famous Buddha Minds School: If they are our brothers, how come we can't eat them?)

        1. Dave 126

          Re: You know that YOU are made out of meat too, right?

          >I love my meat, and there's no way I'm giving it up,

          I love good meat, but I don't think I'd find it too difficult to trade quantity for quality... i.e I'd rather have a smaller exquisite fillet steak than a massive okay rib-eye.

          1. Dave 126

            Re: You know that YOU are made out of meat too, right?

            >You know that YOU are made out of meat too, right?

            Oh, there's a lovely Brian Aldiss (I think, though it might be Arthur C Clarke) short story set in the boardroom of company that manufactures Artificial Meat... hint: Which meat would have vitamins and minerals best in keeping with our own bodies?

            David Cronenburg's lad picked up the idea in a recent horror/satire film called Anti-Viral.

            1. Dave 126

              Re: You know that YOU are made out of meat too, right?

              And the book (and film) Cloud Atlas also features artificial meat...

            2. Duffy Moon

              Re: You know that YOU are made out of meat too, right?

              In terms of vitamins and minerals, I'm pretty sure that liver is the most nutritious 'meat' (I know it's offal and not really meant as such, but you get the idea). Just don't eat polar bear liver.

          2. h3

            Re: You know that YOU are made out of meat too, right?

            I would rather always have rib-eye it is the best taste. Fillet doesn't have enough taste.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: This is fucking good actually

      'they like being farmed"

      Meet the meat!

      1. Rukario

        Re: This is fucking good actually

        > Meet the meat!

        Almost as good as a rare steak from an Ameglian major cow.

    3. h3

      Re: This is fucking good actually

      Farming meat is not evil.

      What is evil is battery farming. (And stuff like Veal or Foie Gras)

      The funny thing is the best tasting meat / fish is the stuff that has had the best life.

      Line caught salmon

      Corn Fed organic chicken

      Rib Eye Steak (Hard to get it from the right place the decent butchers will be able to tell you which field it grew up in).

      (Venison and Wild Boar should be enough for anyone anyway and we have far too many of both at the moment in this country. I would rather eat game anyway).

      1. Duffy Moon

        Re: This is fucking good actually

        Game/wild meat and fish tends to be more expensive - too expensive for many though. I believe veal is no more cruel than any other farming these days (I could be wrong).

        I maintain we should all be eating grey squirrels. There are plenty of those and they taste great.

  5. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    And in 15 years time...

    You'll still be eating burgers made from farmed cows because similarly to the oil/petrol industry - the political lobby from the Cow farmers will be supporting too many vested interests.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And in 15 years time...

      and in 50 years time we'll be eating soylent greens.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Alfred

      What of competing interests? They have lobbies too.

      What about the competing lobbies?

      The people who actually sell the meat to the consumers have powerful lobbies too. MacDonalds and all the rest of the fast-food chains would love meat grown in vats; the potential is there for it to be much, much cheaper and significantly safer. Supermarkets, restaurants, consumers themselves; it's not all one-sided.

      Some nations import a great deal of their food; they just don't have the space or climate to grow their own, and they'd love to be able to grow meat in a vat. Singapore springs to mind; a high-tech nation with an educated workforce and a strong government capable of acting in the nation's best interests. I reckon even if the powerful US-owned meat lobbies managed to get it barred in the US, nations like SIngapore would be very happy to become world leaders in vat meat. Nations that just can't afford it likewise; in many parts of the world meat is still a luxury, or at least not something you can afford every day.

      The lobbies can bleat all they like, and maybe even get it barred in Europe or the US, but the rest of the world might not be so silly.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Finally a way for us ethical vegetarians can enjoy a nice succulent and juicy burger

    1. Don Jefe

      I was going to ask if any vegetarians or vegans could comment on whether or not this would meet their criteria for an acceptable food.

      1. batfastad

        A veggie mate of mine has a rule that he won't eat anything with a face. With most meat supplied these days, the face is probably the best you can hope for.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      What makes a burger succulent and juicy is the exercise the cow's muscles got while the animal was romping around the field, building up all that tasty fat. I would expect that a testtube burger will probably have all the succulence and flavour of pureed Spam.

      1. MrXavia

        Well they could always print whole muscles, and then exercise them in vats, creating different textures and flavours!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not sure if I would eat one or not, having been a vegetarian for 30 years it's hard to say. Although if they could synthesise rare near extinction animals I would simply have to much one down. Panda steak anyone?

      1. Dave 126

        Apparently (according to QI), giant Galapagos tortoise is very, very tasty - explaining why it took decades for a live specimen to reach London after their initial discovery... after a month or two at sea, the crews couldn't help fancying a change in diet.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Mmmm Panda...

        I read about a dig in Siberia that found a massively well preserved mammoth, in the permafrost. The story goes that the crew couldn't help themselves, and had mammoth steaks and vodka for dinner. I really hope it isn't true, but with enough vodka you can probably eat anything...

        Anyway, I thought the market had come up with a better solution. Why spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on a beef alternative, when you can just eat horse?

        1. LordHighFixer
          Thumb Up

          'tis true

          although an old story. It is told that they carved off some mammoth steaks and cooked and ate them. The participants reported that although it seemed a little freezer burned it was otherwise perfectly edible.

          Instead of horse, how about snake. From what I understand all snakes are edible regardless of how venomous they are.

    4. Tom 7

      An ethical vegetarian?

      So you dont like to eat animals but are happy to have them exterminated by tractors and combine harvesters etc etc.

      IF you grow your own food I'll let you off but if you think eating vegetables from the shops mean you dont kill animals then you are no better than those that think the meat coming from the shops is somehow not killed.

      1. ukgnome

        Re: An ethical vegetarian?

        Oh dear, I used to spout this kind of clap trap to other vegetarians. (and I am one!) Put simply most vegetarians are not Buddhists and do not subscribe to this blinkered view on what it means to be called ethical as per your insinuation. After all, you could also list insects on windscreens, weevils in cotton and the 8 spiders we eat whilst sleeping. All of which would be classed as some sort of vegetarian genocide attempt.

        Most vegetarians that I know tend to take the view that they will not eat animals by way of an act of concious decision but have the understanding that some animals inadvertently expire due to the harvest of natures bounty. Vegetarianism isn't (usually) about a superiority complex, we are no better and no worse than meat eaters. In fact I will go as far as to say that the modern vegetarian diet has probably changed the landscape for the worse, whilst assisting in the deforestation of the planet and the killing of the bees. Although most vege's will also take the time to assist in replanting as well as the encouragement of preserving natural resources for the insects.

        Oh and YES I do grow my own food, and I chuck the snails onto my bird table - I must be seem unethical by your high standards. Oh, and for the record I would consider trying lab grown meat, but not whilst it is in it's early stages.

        1. Tom 7

          Re: An ethical vegetarian?

          You do better than most but while most make a concious decision not to actually eat dead animals the truth is that modern farming kills a huge number of animals and birds.

          I dont have particularly high standards - I kill animals for food and would kill more if the law let me - I have to let others do it for me alas. I was a vegetarian for a long time but I discovered you kill (in certain circumstances*) less animals by eating them than eating vegie off the same land. Nature abhors a monoculture.

          * probably 35% of UK farm land.

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Shagbag

    "100% Beef"

    TBH, I can't see McDonalds or Burger King being interested in this while the cost of farm-raised eyelid, gonad, sphincter and colon are considerably cheaper. There's also the question of whether the new product qualifies as "100% Beef". For although the former 4 do, it's questionable whether in-vitro produced product could be said to have come from the beast.

  9. MrXavia
    Thumb Up

    I would love to eat this burger, it is the start of something great, especially as it should make expensive breeds suddenly lower in cost.. why eat cheap imported meat, if you can buy a locally grown Aberdeen angus steak, and best of all, ethically grown!

    (Hmmm I am sure I saw an episode of eureka where this had terrible consequences...)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Which scientists

    David Braben and Ian Bell by any chance?

    1. Steve the Cynic

      Re: Which scientists

      "David Braben and Ian Bell by any chance?"

      Actually, the article made me think of the Activision Call To Power series, where one of the things you could build late in the game was the "Beef Vat", which caused pollution but prevented starvation in the host city...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Actually, the article made me think of

        Chicken Little, from Pohl and Kornbluth's "The Space Merchants".

        1. Dave 126

          Re: Actually, the article made me think of

          Square Pigs!

  11. Pen-y-gors

    millionfold reduction in the global herd?

    If there's a millionfold reduction in the global herd, then that leaves about 1500 cattle on the planet, all of them presumably in zoos. Where will we get our milk and cheese, as the alternatives are very niche? Goat's milk and soya milk don't work in coffee, some sheep and goat cheeses are okay, but milking them takes ages. Sheep's milk icecream is nice, but is never going mass-market.

    Billionfold reduction would mean extinction....

    1. Justicesays

      Re: millionfold reduction in the global herd?

      Unfortunately true. In this human dominated age, being evolutionarily successful for many animals (and plants for that matter) has become

      a) Be Tasty or otherwise useful to humans

      b) Be easy to raise in captivity or domesticate

      It always amuses me to see PETA's attempts to drastically reduce the number of animals in the world by banning them from being used as pets, for work or for food.

      A few thousand cows is about right, and add to that sheep, horses, chickens, pigs, dogs, cats etc.

      without human support, these animals would have long since been extinct or present only in zoos/remote locations, as humans have taken over their natural habitat.

  12. Johnny Canuck

    What about fat?

    A good burger needs a certain amount of fat to make it really delicious.

    1. Dave 126

      Re: What about fat?

      They are sure to be able to do fat down the line... already 3D printing technologies are being explored to create artificial (simpler) organs by creating specific patterns of different cell types.

      They could do mock marbling, or have their company's name written in fat...

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: What about fat?

      That's easy. Liposuction on the overweight customer, in the queue.

      Lose weight 'while you wait'!

      Thus we solve the cruelty to animals question simultaneously with the poor diet one. Sensible solutions for a happy Britain!

      It's a shame El Reg don't have a Mr Greedy icon. So I'll go with Mr Happy instead. When I was a kid, my favourite was Mr Tickle, because his arms were so long he could reach the biscuit tin in the kitchen, without getting out of bed. Ahem! It's funny that now I'm an adult, my biccie tin still lives in the kitchen, rather than on the bedside table. Although I do have a teasmade, so I don't have to get up in the morning to get my first cuppa. If there was a 'baconsandwichmade' I'd probably stay in bed for the next 5 years, until my inevitable death from overeating.

  13. Omgwtfbbqtime

    It's a good start...

    Now vat grow me some bacon!

  14. TRT Silver badge

    You cannot grow burgers in a test tube.

    For that you need a petri dish. Test tubes are for growing sausages.

  15. fearnothing

    By my calculations, a gold bar weighs 0.8oz, assuming a pack of 9 is about 204g net weight...

  16. Captain DaFt

    Actually, I'll pass

    Only cultured muscle cells? Even they admit it it only tastes "acceptable".

    Real meat contains fat, muscle, connective tissue, nerve, blood vessel, blood cells of various types, plus other things that make up a living organism.

    Just muscle cells alone won't have much flavor or nutrition.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    McDonalds? Burger King? Not a very high bar!

    Comparing any meat-like product to McDonalds or Burger King is not a very high bar to clear.

    Now, go to a real burger joint, and get REAL beef, properly raised, butchered, prepared, and cooked, and then compare.

  18. SBU

    The real question is..

    When can they grow a girlfriend? I can get a burger anywhere.

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