Consumers in Singapore can soon get a taste of lab-grown or cultured chicken after food technology start-up Eat Just received the go-ahead to sell the product here.
Announcing this on Wednesday, Eat Just said its cultured chicken has been given “first-in-the-world regulatory approval” by Singapore authorities. It will be used as an ingredient in its “chicken bites” or nuggets which the company plans to launch at a later date.
This would likely be the first time globally that a cultured meat product is sold commercially, said the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), which made public on Wednesday guidelines to ensure the safety of food inventions.
Cultured or cell-based meat is meat developed in laboratories using animal cells.
San Francisco-based Eat Just, which is known for its plant-based egg substitutes, said no antibiotics were used in its product.
It added that safety tests found that its cultured chicken had “extremely low and significantly cleaner microbiological content” than traditional chicken.
“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 said.
In a media release, the company said it took “many months” for its team of scientists, product developers, and regulation experts to record the cultured chicken’s production process – information which is required under SFA rules.
“The company documented the purity, identity, and stability of chicken cells during the manufacturing process, as well as a detailed description of the manufacturing process which demonstrated that harvested lab-grown chicken met quality controls and a rigorous food safety monitoring system”, said Eat Just.
Cultured chicken made in Singapore
The cultured chicken was manufactured 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 the innovation of all kinds, from information technology to biologics to now leading the world in building a healthier, safer food system,” said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just as he explained why Singapore was chosen as the first location to launch its chicken product.
“I’m sure that our regulatory approval for cultured meat will be the first of many in Singapore and in countries around the globe.”
Mr. Tetrick said his company is looking to offer the product at a restaurant first before distributing it to the mass market, adding that it will be priced similar to what consumers pay for “premium chicken” at restaurants.
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