Lab-grown meat to go on sale in Singapore in world first | Inquirer News
Close  

Lab-grown meat to go on sale in Singapore in world first

/ 06:29 AM December 04, 2020
singapore lab grown food

This photo taken on December 12, 2019 shows William Chen, director of the Food Science and Technology Programme at Nanyang Technological University, looking at microalgae samples in a research laboratory in Singapore. – From lab-grown “seafood” to dumplings made with tropical fruit instead of pork, rising demand for sustainable meat alternatives in Asia is spawning creative products to appeal to local palates.  (Photo by Catherine LAI / AFP)

SINGAPORE – Lab-grown chicken will soon be available in restaurants in Singapore after the country became the first to green-light meat created without slaughtering any animals.

US start-up Eat Just said Wednesday that its meat had been approved for sale in the city-state as an ingredient in chicken nuggets.

ADVERTISEMENT

The news marks a “breakthrough for the global food industry”, said the company, as firms increasingly try to find less environmentally harmful ways of producing meat.

“I’m sure that our regulatory approval for cultured meat will be the first of many in Singapore and in countries around the globe,” said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just.

FEATURED STORIES

Consumption of regular meat is an environmental threat as cattle produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas, while logging forests to make way for animals destroys natural barriers against climate change.

Demand for sustainable meat alternatives is rising due to growing pressure from consumers about the environment and animal welfare, but other products in the market are plant-based.

There were concerns that lab-grown varieties would be too expensive, but a spokesman for Eat Just said the company had made “considerable progress” in lowering the cost.

“Right from the start, we will be at price parity for premium chicken at a high-end restaurant,” he told AFP.

He did not reveal the price of the nuggets but said they would be launched soon at a Singapore restaurant before other products — including chicken breasts with lab-grown meat — are rolled out.

Eat Just hopes to bring down the cost to below that of conventional chicken in the coming years, the spokesman added.

– Soaring meat consumption –

ADVERTISEMENT

The company conducted more than 20 production runs in 1,200-litre bioreactors to make the chicken alternative, and checks on safety and quality showed that its “cultured” product — the term for meat grown in labs from animal cells — met food standards.

Meat consumption is projected to increase more than 70 percent by 2050, and lab-grown alternatives have a role to play in ensuring a secure food supply, Eat Just said.

“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,” said company CEO Tetrick.

The Singapore Food Agency, the city-state’s regulator, confirmed it had approved the sale of Eat Just’s lab-grown chicken in nuggets after concluding it was safe for consumption.

The high-tech city-state has become a hub for the development of sustainable foods, with start-ups producing goods ranging from lab-grown “seafood” to dumplings made with tropical fruit instead of pork.

William Chen, a Singapore-based scientist and member of an expert panel that advises the regulator, said food security was a key concern in the city-state’s drive for developing meat alternatives.

Singapore “has virtually no agriculture, we import more than 90 percent of our food from overseas,” said Chen, director of Nanyang Technological University’s food, science and technology programme.

“Finding ways to enhance food availability locally would be one very sustainable, viable option.”

gsg
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Eat Just, Food, lab-grown, Singapore
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2021 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.