Science

Lab-grown chicken on the menu in Singapore after world-first approval

Lab-grown chicken on the menu ...
Cultured chicken is Eat Just's first product and has been approved as an ingredient in chicken bites
Cultured chicken is Eat Just's first product and has been approved as an ingredient in chicken bites
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Cultured chicken is Eat Just's first product and has been approved as an ingredient in chicken bites
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Cultured chicken is Eat Just's first product and has been approved as an ingredient in chicken bites
Food tech company Eat Just’s cultured chicken has received the green light for sale in Singapore
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Food tech company Eat Just’s cultured chicken has received the green light for sale in Singapore
Eat Just's cultured chicken on show in a pasta dish
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Eat Just's cultured chicken on show in a pasta dish
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With our consumption of meat continuing to place a huge strain on the environment, the emergence of lab-grown alternatives is beginning to pick up steam. A world-first regulatory approval today should help things along, with food tech startup Eat Just’s cultured chicken receiving the green light for sale in Singapore.

While there are a number of startups developing fake meat products that use plants as their starting point, such as the beef and pork offered by Impossible Foods, others, including KFC and Aleph Farms, are working on solutions made from real animal cells.

These are currently expensive but may be a more palatable option for meat enthusiasts, as scientists, environmentalists and food technology companies work to offer more sustainable ways to feed the population. Conventional meat production calls for massive amounts of land and energy, and generates huge amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, so the race is on to find a greener way forward.

Eat Just’s solution is to harvest a small amount of cells from living animals, and then feed those cells the same nutrients the living animals would receive so that they grow and multiply. This takes place inside a bioreactor and, eventually, these cells develop into edible portions of cultured meat.

Eat Just's cultured chicken on show in a pasta dish
Eat Just's cultured chicken on show in a pasta dish

Cultured chicken is the company’s first product, and it says the meat's composition is similar to that of real chicken and therefore offers the same nutritional value – it's also antibiotic-free. Eat Just says the cultured meat generates 78 to 96 percent less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 99 percent less land and uses as much as 96 percent less water than conventional chicken to produce.

The company has spent months documenting its manufacturing process across 20 production runs, detailing the purity and stability of the chicken cells and working to prove the cultured chicken meets the same safety standards as regular poultry. The Singapore Food Agency has now reviewed the relevant documentation and data, and has approved the cultured chicken for sale as an ingredient in chicken bites, which will be sold in a local restaurant.

"We are delighted but not surprised to see the rigor that went into this approval, as well as the testing and the consistent success of producing significant amounts of cultivated meat without antibiotics,” says Bruce Friedrich, executive director of non-profit The Good Food Institute. “It's critical for cultivated meat companies to be extra-careful and to go beyond public expectation in ensuring the safety and consumer comfort with their products.”

Food tech company Eat Just’s cultured chicken has received the green light for sale in Singapore
Food tech company Eat Just’s cultured chicken has received the green light for sale in Singapore

Eat Just says it plans to follow this world-first approval with a commercial launch of its meat products in Singapore. While its cultured chicken is its first product, it is also working to develop cultured beef from Californian cattle and Japanese Wagyu.

“I’m sure that our regulatory approval for cultured meat will be the first of many in Singapore and in countries around the globe,” says Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just. “Working in partnership with the broader agriculture sector and forward-thinking policymakers, companies like ours can help meet the increased demand for animal protein as our population climbs to 9.7 billion by 2050.”

Source: Eat Just

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6 comments
6 comments
paul314
Any word on cost, or if you have to ask you can't afford it?
Douglas Bennett Rogers
They may have just invented "space" food!
Username
Hopefully this will end the cruelty we subject chickens to.
Nelson Hyde Chick
This invitro meat might be expensive now but down the road it will be cheaper than actually raising animals and killing them.
alexD
I can already hear the USA cry baby about razing the poultry industry and even those proposing those stupid bills to prevent this from being called chicken meat ... remember the milk war against the almond milk etc... but I'm all for it. I can't for the heck of me eat chicken since I was a kid, some 55 years ago....
Albert L
Seems it would make good business sense to soon use this process to create higher cost per pound meat like lobster? Of course, healthy meat would be great too, and as this should be safe from common problems why not sell meat that is a blend of healthy and tasty. Could open up a large new section of the market and traditional members involved in the meat industry may do well to hedge their future by getting involved in this.