SINGAPORE: Lab-grown chicken will soon be available in Singapore restaurants after the nation became the first to manufacture green-light meat without any animals being slaughtered.
On Wednesday, US start-up Eat Just said that its meat had been accepted as an ingredient in chicken nuggets for sale in the city-state.
As businesses gradually aim to find less environmentally damaging methods of processing beef, the news marks a ‘breakthrough for the global food industry,’ the firm added.
“Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just said, “I’m confident our regulatory clearance for cultured meat will be the first of many in Singapore and in countries across the globe.
Regular meat eating is an environmental problem because cattle emit me-thane, a strong greenhouse gas, while logging trees to make room for cows to eliminate natural obstacles to climate change.
Due to growing public pressure on the environment and animal health, the demand for organic meat substitutes is increasing, but other items on the market are focused on plants.
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.
“Right from the start, at a high-end restaurant, we’ll be at price parity for premium chicken,” he said.
He did not disclose the price of the nuggets but said that before other items, including chicken breasts with lab-grown beef, are rolled out they will be introduced shortly at a Singapore restaurant.
In the coming years, Eat Only aims to get the cost down to below that of traditional chicken, the spokesman said.
In order to produce the chicken substitute, the firm performed more than 20 manufacturing runs in 1,200-litre bioreactors, and protection and quality controls proved that its “cultivated” commodity, the term for meat produced from animal cells in laboratories, met food requirements.
By 2050, meat intake is expected to rise by more than 70%, and laboratory-grown substitutes have a part to play in maintaining a stable supply of beef, Eat Just said.
“Companies such as ours, working in partnership with the wider agricultural sector and forward-thinking policymakers, can help meet the increased demand for animal protein as our population rises to 9.7 billion by 2050,” CEO Tetrick said.
The Singapore Food Department, the regulator of the city-state, announced that the selling of Eat Just’s lab-grown chicken in nuggets had been authorised after determining that it was safe for consumption.
The high-tech city-state has become a centre for sustainable food production, with start-ups manufacturing products ranging from lab-grown ‘seafood’ to dumplings made instead of pork with tropical fruit.
William Chen, a Singapore-based scientist and member of the regulator’s expert panel, said food security was a core concern in the city-push state’s for meat alternatives to be created.
“Singapore has virtually no agriculture, we import more than 90 percent of our food from overseas,” said Chen, director of the food, science and technology programme at Nanyang Technological University.