US company Eat Just Inc. has gained regulatory approval in Singapore to produce and sell lab-grown chicken meat. A world first.
“The first-in-the-world regulatory allowance of real, high-quality meat created directly from animal cells for safe human consumption paves the way for a forthcoming small-scale commercial launch in Singapore of Eat Just’s new ‘GOOD Meat’ brand,” said a company statement, adding that further details would be disclosed later. The company is known for plant-based alternatives to egg products.
Eat Just’s team of scientists, product developers, and regulatory experts have, according to company officials, prepared extensive documentation on the characterisation of its cultured chicken and the process to produce it, reports Food Safety News. The company included details on 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 cultured chicken met quality controls and a rigorous food safety monitoring system.
Furthermore, safety and quality validations demonstrated that harvested cultured chicken met the standards of poultry meat, with extremely low and significantly cleaner microbiological content than conventional 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.
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The Singapore Food Agency said it had reviewed data relating to process, manufacturing control and safety testing before granting approval. The meat, to be sold as nuggets, will be priced at premium chicken prices when it first launches in a restaurant in Singapore. The product will be manufactured in Singapore where it also plans to start making a mung bean-based egg substitute it has been selling commercially in the US.
Eat Just Inc. has raised over US$ 300 million since its inception in 2011 and is valued at roughly US$ 1.2 billion. Reuters reports that globally, more than 2 dozen firms are testing lab-grown fish, beef, and chicken, hoping to break into an unproven segment of the alternative meat market, which Barclays estimates could be worth US$ 140 billion by 2029.