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06th Dec 2020

Lab-grown meat approved to go on sale for the first time

The ‘no-kill’ meat is grown in a 1,200-litre bioreactor.

Meat grown in a lab, as opposed to from an animal that has been slaughtered, has been approved for sale for the first time.

The ‘chicken bites’ from San Francisco-based company Eat Just have been approved by the Singapore Food Agency, for sale in the country.

“It was found to be safe for consumption at the intended levels of use, and was allowed to be sold in Singapore as an ingredient in Eat Just’s nuggets product,” the SFA said.

The new meat differs from Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, which is plant-based. Eat Just’s lab-grown meat is produced from animal muscle cells in a controlled environment.

The cells are taken from the biopsies of live animals, and then grown in a 1,200-litre bioreactor and combined with other plant-based ingredients.

Eat Just said that initially the lab-grown meat would only be sold in a single restaurant in Singapore. It will also be more expensive than regular traditional meat to begin with, though the company said that eventually it will be cheaper once they can scale up production.

Barclays say that that the meat alternatives market could be worth $140bn (£104bn) in the next ten years, which is about one-tenth of the global meat industry.

As well as offering cruelty-free production of meat, the ‘no-kill’ chicken is also intended to help curb the impacts of live-stock production on climate change.

“I think the approval is one of the most significant milestones in the food industry in the last handful of decades,” said Josh Tetrick, of Eat Just. “It’s an open door and it’s up to us and other companies to take that opportunity. My hope is this leads to a world in the next handful of years where the majority of meat doesn’t require killing a single animal or tearing down a single tree.”