Watching Three People Eat a $384,000 Burger Is Surprisingly Boring
As the world’s population hurtles towards an estimated nine billion by 2050, global food shortages are becoming a very real problem. In no sector is this more apparent than the meat industry. The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that around 70 percent of all agricultural land on Earth is currently used for meat production. It also predicts the demand for meat will increase by more than two thirds in the next 40 years as the middle classes grow in newly industrialized countries in Asia and South America.
Aside from awful humanitarian and animal cruelty issues, the meat industry is thought to have a significant effect on global warming as belching, farting livestock produce huge quantities of methane—a greenhouse gas33 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. It’s obvious that the meat industry as we know it is unsustainable, but for the vast majority of us the prospect of turning vegetarian is pretty grim. Vegetables aren’t filling, Tofurkey tastes like wet Band-Aids, and the prospect of mass farming insects to squish into bugburgers makes me want to sew up my mouth and anus.
Fortunately, Professor Mark Post thinks he’s come up with a way for us to save the planet and gorge until we get the meat sweats. Unfortunately, it’s not all that cost effective yet.
Professor Mark Post.
By harvesting muscle tissue from a living cow, Professor Post is able to cut the tissue into individual muscle cells. Each cell can then yield up to one trillion more, which will then naturally join up to form new muscle tissue. Five years and approximately $384,000 after he started, Professor Post had created the world’s most expensive burger patty, ready for an unveiling and tasting ceremony in London. As the world’s media descended on the presentation in Hammersmith, I went along to see if “cultured beef” really was the savior the meat industry needs.