Dr. Mark Post has been buttering us up with his promise of a cruelty-free lab-grown burger for months – and this week the supremely expensive £250,000 burger was finally taste tested at an event in London. As you might have expected, it didn’t taste exactly natural – testers said that it wasn’t bad, but they did have complaints. Meanwhile, the identity of Mark Post’s mysterious backer has finally been revealed – Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, donated an anonymous $396,000 to the project.

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In reactions witnessed by the BBC News, an Austrian food researcher named Hanni Ruetzler said “I was expecting the texture to be more soft…there is quite some intense taste; it’s close to meat, but it’s not that juicy. The consistency is perfect, but I miss salt and pepper.”

Meanwhile Josh Schonwald, a professional food critic, exclaimed “The mouth-feel is like meat. I miss the fat, there’s a leanness to it, but the general bite feels like a hamburger.”

So the taste is lacking but the texture is there. Well like they say, you can always try again—for £250,000, that is. It’s not too surprising, considering that the meat in this burger didn’t come from a cow in the traditional sense. Instead researchers at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands took cells from a cow’s neck and replicated them using stem cells into 20,000 strips of muscle, and then combined them with lab grown fat to make a patty. Like all burgers, there was also a fair share of filler – including things like egg powder, bread crumbs and red beet juice, as well as saffron for bring out the “natural colors.”

Post’s research shows that lab grown meat (although not economical) could solve a lot of the environmental and ethical issues associated with raising cattle for the slaughterhouse – from gas emissions to land use and animal rights issues.

+ University of Maastricht

Via BBC News