Lab-grown meat to go on sale for first time after landmark approval

Meat produced in a laboratory instead of coming from slaughtered animals has been approved for sale for the first time.

Singapore will allow American firm Eat Just to sell lab-grown chicken meat, which is set to be launched in a restaurant “in the very near term”, in what is the world’s first regulatory approval.

Eat Just said the product will be sold as nuggets and will be available at premium chicken prices when it goes on sale – and could lead to a future when all meat is produced without the killing of livestock.

An employee of Eat Just looks at grilled fillet made from lab-grown cultured chicken. Pic: Eat Just
Image: An Eat Just employee looks at a grilled fillet made from lab-grown meat

Demand for alternatives to regular meat is surging due to concerns about health, animal welfare and the environment.

However, the so-called clean or cultured meat, which is grown from animal muscle cells, is more expensive to produce than plant-based products, such as Quorn, Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat.

Eat Just co-founder and chief executive Josh Tetrick said the San Francisco-based firm was also talking to US regulators.

He said: “I would imagine what will happen is the US, western Europe and others will see what Singapore has been able to do, the rigours of the framework that they put together.

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“And I would imagine that they will try to use it as a template to put their own framework together.”

A fillet of lab-grown cultured chicken developed by Eat Just. Pic: Eat Just
Image: The product will be launched in a restaurant in Singapore

Singapore only produces about 10% of its food but has ambitious plans to raise that over the next decade by supporting high-tech farming and new means of production.

Eat Just said it will manufacture the product in Singapore, where it also plans to start making a mung bean-based egg substitute it has been selling commercially in the US.

Josh Tetrick, the CEO and co-founder of Eat Just. Pic: Eat Just
Image: Josh Tetrick is the chief executive and co-founder of Eat Just

The company was founded in 2011 and includes Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing and Singapore state investor Temasek among its backers.

Mr Tetrick said it has raised more than $300m (£225m) since its inception and is valued at roughly $1.2bn (£900m).

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