A high steaks venture

 Grilled beef and mushroom burger

We all know that beef come from cows (heifers and steers, to be more precise). But as The Wall Street Journal reports, several companies are vying to be the first to make meat in the lab and bring it to the market. (If you have trouble with the link, Google "Wall Street Journal lab grown meat" and you should be able to access a free version of the story.)

The goal of these startups "is to remake modern animal agriculture, which the United Nations estimates consumes one-third of the world's grains, with about a quarter of all land used for grazing. The companies say that growing meat with cells and bioreactors-similar to fermentors used to brew beer-consumes a fraction of the nutrients, creates far less waste and avoids the need for antibiotics and additives commonly used in meat production."

Of course environmental concerns are only one reason for the companies to attempt to make commercially produced, lab-cultured meat. Their is potentially a huge market to tap, since US consumers spent close to $200 billion on meat and poultry last year. While the potential is enormous, skeptics say that people who are clamoring for naturally-raised, organic, or hormone-free beef will not rush to embrace "test-tube" meat. Then there is the matter of taste - so far the samples haven't earned high praise among testers.

Would you be willing to try cultured meat products if they tasted like the real thing?

Photo of Grilled beef and mushroom burger from indexed blog Simply Recipes

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