But this time the eyes and cameras of hundreds of journalists in the room were fixed on the 5oz (140g) pink disc sizzling in his pan, one that had been five years and €250,000 in the making. This was the world’s first proper portion of cultured meat, a beef burger created by Mark Post, professor of physiology, and his team at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
Post (which rhymes with ‘lost’, not ‘ghost’) has been working on in vitro meat (IVM) since 2009. On 5 August this year he presented his cultured beef burger to the world as a ‘proof of concept’.
Having shown that the technology works, Post believes that in a decade or so we could see commercial production of meat that has been grown in a lab rather than reared and slaughtered. The comforting illusion that supermarket trays of plastic-wrapped steaks are not pieces of dead animal might become a discomforting reality