Food & Drink

Singapore Becomes World’s First Country to Approve the Sale of Lab-Grown Meat

Yummy lab-grown chicken nuggets by Eat Just. Image via Eat Just
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Singapore has just given government approval to US food technology start-up, Eat Just Inc., to start selling lab-grown chicken meat!

Eat Just, Inc. (formerly known as Hampton Creek Foods, Inc.) is an American food manufacturing company headquartered in San Francisco which produces plant-based foods (sold internationally). The company was founded on beliefs that challenge the systemic and ethical issues in the global food system, particularly where animals are involved.

The company has been producing plant-based alternatives such as “vegan eggs,” and egg replacement products like eggless mayo called Just Mayo that became an overnight hit in grocery stores across the US. In June 2017, the company revealed that it had been secretly working on cultured meat trials for a year and aimed to make their first commercial sale of a “clean meat” product by the end of 2018.

And now they’re bringing their product to Singapore where it will soon be available commercially. Eat Just announced on December 2 that their “first-in-the-world regulatory approval” by Singaporean authorities will see residents of the city-state be able to enjoy a healthy and new range of “chicken bites” or nuggets that the company will soon be launching.

Image Credit: Civil Eats

Amid a global growing demand for meat substitutes, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) announced on December 2 that this initiative will be a global first, where cultured or lab-grown meat products will be sold commercially after they released a government-mandated regulatory framework and safety guidelines for the production, import, and selling of “novel foods.”

What is Cultured Meat?

Lab-grown, or cultured meat is a form of “cellular agriculture” that produces meat via in vitro cell culture from animals. Unlike plant-based substitutes, cultured meat is essentially “real” meat, but its greatest appeal is that no animals have to die for its production. It is, quite literally, bioengineered and “grown.”

Eat Just explained that no antibiotics go into their products, and safety tests conducted also shows “extremely low and significantly cleaner microbiological content” compared to regular chicken.

Just Eat’s media release also states that, “The analysis also demonstrated that cultured chicken contains a high protein content, diversified amino acid composition, high relative content in healthy monounsaturated fats, and is a rich source of minerals.” 

It also states that the company took “many months” for their team of scientists, product developers, and regulation experts to perfect the whole process of cultured chicken production according to SFA rules and standards.

Image Credit: ABS-CBN News

All meat productions were carried out at the Food Innovation and Resource Centre, a food research facility co-run by Singapore Polytechnic and Enterprise Singapore.

“Singapore has long been a leader in innovation of all kinds, from information technology to biologics to now leading the world in building a healthier, safer food system. I’m sure that our regulatory approval for cultured meat will be the first of many in Singapore and in countries around the globe.”

Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just, Inc.

CEO and co-founder of Eat Just, Josh Tetrick, revealed that he chose to collaborate with Singapore because of the country’s support for food technology. Singapore’s willingness to evolve the food industry “led him to choose the country as the launchpad of the company’s first cultured chicken product.”

Promoted

Andrew Noyes, head of global communications at Eat Just, said the cultured chicken would be sold at “a restaurant” in the city, adding that details, location, and availability will be announced at a later date. Eat Just also informs that their chicken products will priced at a more premium rate when released until such a time when cultured meat products will be more widely available, enabling better regulations for more affordable pricing.




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