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Food

First Animal-Free In Vitro Meat Burger is Ready for Debut

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Photo by jslander via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Hold on to your petri dishes, people. The day is finally here. Not only can we now print guns, we can have burgers without actually slaughtering an animal.

The only question is if consumers, who are becoming increasingly skeptical of genetically modified organisms, would buy in to the idea of meat that's manufactured in a lab. It doesn't seem like a bad idea; as AOL points out, one third of raw materials used in the United States are used to produce meat. So it'd surely cut the environment a break.

And don't forget about the animals themselves. Back in 2008, the animal rights activits at PETA launched a competition that said it would give $1 million to anyone who could create and market in vitro meat by June 30, 2012. That deadline came and went, and they extended the competition to 2013.

20,000 thin strips of cultured muscle tissue later, the first in vitro burger is ready for its debut in a few weeks at a tasting event in London. It's been developed by a team in the Netherlands. Says the New York Times:

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The meat is produced with materials — including fetal calf serum, used as a medium in which to grow the cells — that eventually would have to be replaced by similar materials of non-animal origin. And the burger was created at phenomenal cost — 250,000 euros, or about $325,000, provided by a donor who so far has remained anonymous. Large-scale manufacturing of cultured meat that could sit side by side with conventional meat in a supermarket and compete with it in price is at the very least a long way off.

In other words, it's going to be a while before you're stuffing your face with in vitro meat. For now, you'll have to stick to your glamburgers.