No, on second thoughts Sue Kedgley would not want to be first to try this test-tube hamburger

"No jokes, please, about big cocks or good-looking birds."

Alf gave a thought to submitting the name of Sue Kedgley, in response to news that a volunteer is being sought to be the first person to eat a “test-tube” hamburger.

At first blush, she seemed the ideal person to put this product to a taste test, because her particular political interests as a Green MP include health, food safety, and animal welfare issues.

She is the author or co-author of seven books, the most recent entitled ‘Eating Safely in a Toxic World’.

While researching that book

…she visited intensive farms and saw for herself the hideous conditions animals are forced to endure in intensive farming, and she did all she could to bring attention to the parallel concerns of animal welfare and safe foo

She can chalk up a success in getting the sow crate phased out and now has aimed to get rid of the battery hen cage.

It was the animal welfare thing that should have made her a good candidate for the aforementioned food tasting, because scientists say this test-tube tucker could pave the way for we meat-eaters to sink our choppers into a chunk of meat without the need to slaughter animals.

The burger is made with beef grown from stem cells.

The Dutch scientists responsible for it reckon it is less than a year away from being produced.

The Herald reports –

The scientists are developing a burger which will be grown from 10,000 stem cells extracted from cattle, which are left in the lab to multiply more than a billion times to produce muscle tissue similar to beef.

This “vitro meat” – as it has been described – is reckoned to be the answer to the world’s food problems, as demand for meat doubles in the next 40 years (according to the forecasters).

Mark Post, a professor at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, said: “I don’t see any way you could rely on old-fashioned livestock in the coming decades. In vitro meat will be the only choice left.

“We are trying to prove to the world we can make a product out of this, and we need a courageous person who is willing to be the first to taste it.

“If no one comes forward, then it might be me.”

Kedgley – Alf gives her credit for this – has plenty of courage.

It remains to pass on her name to Professor Post, who has told Scientific American magazine he thinks the first test-tube burger could be made within 12 months.

This isn’t a total breakthrough. The test-tube tossers have been at this sort of thing for a while.

In 2009, scientists from the same university grew strips of pork using the same method. But it was grey had had a similar texture to calamari.

Fish fillets have been grown in a New York laboratory using cells taken from goldfish muscle tissue, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported.

Alf will be sticking to the real thing, thank you.

Stem-cell burgers sound dismayingly akin to vegetarian sausages or tofu.

But they and other stem-cell foods seem calculated to spare the suffering of the creatures that provide us with our bacon and eggs, fish and chips, Big Macs, and so on.

Kedgley accordingly would be keen to help out.

But on second thoughts, let the record show she has a thing about the perils of cellphone towers, and we can imagine she would be similarly suspicious of stem-cell steaks.

She also is a fanatical opponent of GE crops, and presumably would see scientifically engineered food in the same unfavourable light.

Above all, she is hostile to the fast-food industry, and would not want to be part of anything that might finish up on the McDonalds menu.

So who else might we send to savour the first batch of fabricated burgers?

Got it – Parekura Horomia.

If it bears the slightest resemblance to something he can scoff, Alf reckons, he will have a lick at it.

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