Beef from a Test Tube

Cul­tured Beef

HWM (Singapore) - - Think - BY ALVIN SOON

On Au­gust 5th, 2013, Hanni Rüt­zler, an Aus­trian re­searcher, and Josh Schon­wald, a food writer, ate a beef burger in Lon­don. Only this wasn’t any or­di­nary burger; the beef – and it was in­deed 100 per cent beef – had been cul­ti­vated us­ing tis­sues from a liv­ing cow, and then fur­ther grown in­side a lab.

The rev­o­lu­tion­ary meat had been cre­ated by the Cul­tured Beef team, led by Dr. Mark Post, of Maas­tricht Univer­sity in the Nether­lands, and Cul­tured Beef isn’t the only team ad­vanc­ing the fu­ture of food. Com­pa­nies like Be­yond Meat and Hamp­ton Creek Foods are try­ing to shape plants into veg­e­tar­ian meat and eggs which taste just like the real thing.

But the ques­tion is why? Meat pro­duc­tion to­day is re­spon­si­ble for a host of en­vi­ron­men­tal as well as health prob­lems, and sci­en­tists warn that our cur­rent sys­tem of meat con­sump­tion just isn’t sus­tain­able; the global de­mand for meat is pre­dicted to out­strip sup­ply in the next 50 years. Thanks to th­ese food start-ups, it might not be too long be­fore we’re all eat­ing meat burg­ers which no an­i­mal had to die for.

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