Researchers in the Netherlands created what was described as soggy pork and are now investigating ways to improve the muscle tissue in the hope that people will one day want to eat it.
No one has yet tasted their produce, but it is believed the artificial meat could be on sale within five years.
Vegetarian groups welcomed the news, saying there was “no ethical objection” if meat was not a piece of a dead animal.
Mark Post, professor of physiology at Eindhoven University, told The Sunday Times: “What we have at the moment is rather like wasted muscle tissue. We need to find ways of improving it by training it and stretching it, but we will get there.
“This product will be good for the environment and will reduce animal suffering. If it feels and tastes like meat, people will buy it.
“You could take the meat from one animal and create the volume of meat previously provided by a million animals.”
The scientists extracted cells from the muscle of a live pig and then put them in a broth of other animal products. The cells then multiplied and created muscle tissue. They believe that it can be turned into something like steak if they can find a way to artificially "exercise" the muscle.
The project is backed by the Dutch government and a sausage maker and comes following the creation of artificial fish fillets from goldfish muscle cells.
Meat produced in a laboratory could reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with real animals.
Meat and dairy consumption is predicted to double by 2050 and methane from livestock is said to currently produce about 18 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases.
Animal rights group Peta said: “As far as we’re concerned, if meat is no longer a piece of a dead animal there’s no ethical objection.”
However the Vegetarian Society said: “The big question is how could you guarantee you were eating artificial flesh rather than flesh from an animal that had been slaughtered.
“It would be very difficult to label and identify in a way that people would trust.”
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