Lab-grown chicken will be available in Singapore restaurants after the country became the first to give the green light to consuming processed meat without slaughtering any animals.

US startup Eat Just said on Wednesday that its meat has been approved to sell as an ingredient in chicken nuggets. This news represents a "boom in the global food industry", as companies are increasingly trying to find less environmentally harmful ways to produce meat.

"I am sure our regulatory approval for lab grown meat will be the first of many approvals in Singapore and in countries around the world," said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just.

Consuming regular meat is an environmental threat because livestock produce methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, while cutting down trees to make room for animals eliminates natural barriers to climate change.

Demand for sustainable meat alternatives is increasing due to increasing pressure from consumers over the environment and animal welfare, but other products on the market depend on plants.

There were concerns that the lab-grown items were too expensive, but a spokesperson for Eat Just said the company had made "significant progress" in reducing costs.

"From the start, we will achieve parity in the prices of premium chicken in an upscale restaurant," he told AFP.

He did not disclose the price of the chicken nuggets, but said they would soon be launched at a restaurant in Singapore before other products - including chicken breast with lab-grown meat, would be released.

The spokesperson added that Eat Just hopes to cut the cost below that of conventional chicken in the coming years.

The company has conducted more than 20 production processes in 1,200 liters of bioreactors to make chicken substitute, and safety and quality checks have shown that its "cultured" product - the term for laboratory-grown meat from animal cells - meets nutritional standards.

Meat consumption is expected to increase by more than 70% by 2050, and lab-produced alternatives have a role to play in ensuring a safe food supply, Eat Just said.

"By working in partnership with the broader agriculture sector and forward-thinking policymakers, companies like ours can help meet the growing demand for animal protein as our population rises to 9.7 billion by 2050," Tetrick said.

Singapore's Food Agency has confirmed that it has approved the sale of Eat Just lab-grown chicken nuggets, after concluding it is safe to consume.

William Chen, a Singapore-based scientist and member of the expert panel that advises the regulator, said food security was a major concern in the drive to develop meat alternatives.

Source: ScienceAlert

By:Nadeemy Haded

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