SINGAPORE: Laboratory-grown chicken meat made a landmark debut on Saturday in a culinary first at a Singapore restaurant that its founders said could help minimise the environmental harm involved in the processing of human food.
US start-up Eat Just said earlier this month that after Singapore became the first country to authorise the sale of meat produced without slaughtering any animals, its product was accepted for sale in the city-state as an ingredient in chicken nuggets.
As cattle emit the strong greenhouse gas methane, livestock eating is an environmental threat, while logging to create pastures removes natural barriers against climate change.
On Wednesday, the firm said it had made the first commercial sale of the commodity to a restaurant in Robertson Quay, a posh riverside entertainment centre in Singapore in 1880.
On Saturday evening, the restaurant started serving the cultured beef, saying its first diners were students aged 14-18 who were welcomed to the launch after displaying “a commitment to building a better planet.”
The launch, however, due to steps against the coronavirus, was closed to the public.
Created in 1880, entrepreneur Marc Nicholson described serving cultured meat as a “revolutionary step towards addressing climate change and creating the chance to feed the world without overwhelming the planet.”
Josh Tetrick, chief executive of Eat Only, said this week that the launch “brings us closer to a world where most of the meat we eat does not require tearing down a single forest, shifting the habitat of a single animal or using a single drop of antibiotics.”
Due to the public worries regarding the environment and animal health, the demand for organic meat substitutes is increasing, but other items on the market are plant-based.
Meat demand is expected to rise by more than 70% by 2050, and laboratory-grown substitutes have a part to play in maintaining a stable supply of food, the firm said.
There were fears that lab-grown varieties would be too pricey, but the company had made considerable progress” in lowering the prices, a spokesperson for Eat Just said.