5th Aug 2013
Food critic Hanni Ruetzler who tasted the burger: "There is quite some intense taste; it's close to meat, but it's not that juicy"
The world's first lab-grown burger was cooked and eaten at a news conference in London today.
Scientists took cells from a cow and, at an institute in the Netherlands, turned them into strips of muscle that they combined to make a patty.
Researchers say the technology could be a sustainable way of meeting what they say is a growing demand for meat.
Critics say that eating less meat would be an easier way to tackle predicted food shortages.
The burger was cooked by chef Richard McGowan, from Cornwall, and tasted by food critics Hanni Ruetzler and Josh Schonw ald.
Cells cultured in the lab develop into muscle, which can then be fashioned into a patty
Upon tasting the burger, Austrian food researcher Ms 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."
She added: "This is meat to me. It's not falling apart."
Food writer Mr Schonwald said: "The mouthfeel is like meat. I miss the fat, there's a leanness to it, but the general bite feels like a hamburger.
"What was consistently different was flavour."
Prof Mark Post, of Maastricht University, the scientist behind the burger, remarked: "It's a very good start."
Prof Mark Post, of Maastricht University, explains how he and his colleagues made the world's first lab-grown burger
The professor said the meat was made up of tens of billions of lab-grown cells. Asked when lab-grown burgers would reach the market, he said: "I think it will take a while. This is just to show we can do it."
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, has been revealed as the project's mystery backer.
Prof Tara Garnett, head of the Food Policy Research Network at Oxford University, said decision-makers needed to look beyond technological solutions.
"We have a situation where 1.4 billion people in the world are overweight and obese, and at the same time one billion people worldwide go to bed hungry," she said.
Mr Schonwald said he missed the fat, but that the "general bite" was authentic
"That's just weird and unacceptable. The solutions don't just lie with producing more food but changing the systems of supply and access and affordability, so not just more food but better food gets to the people who need it."
BBC News - World's first lab-grown burger is eaten in London