Would You Like a Bite of My Test Tube Burger?

In theory, being able to make artificial meat in a lab sounds great—it’d be better for the earth than raising animals and would make protein more plentiful for a hungry population. But then there’s the actual reality of it, which at the moment is sitting in a petri dish in the Netherlands and is described as a “yellow-pink sliver the size of a corn plaster.” Terrific, because who doesn’t love eating meat that looks like a used band-aid?

As disgusting as it sounds, it’s close to becoming a viable option. Dr. Mark Post, head of physiology at Maastricht University, is making the beef in the lab from stem cells and plans to debut an actual hamburger this October. It will have cost more than $300,000 to produce, so it probably won’t be on offer at your local McDonald’s anytime soon—unless, of course, they launch a new Hundred Thousand Dollar Value Meal™ menu to appeal to the one percenters. Dr. Post’s research has been funded by an anonymous wealthy donor (mysterious!) who hopes to reduce cattle farming, which is a big contributor of greenhouse gas emissions.

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