Singapore just became the first country to allow the sale of lab-grown meat. The US-based startup, Eat Just, that came in the news for their eggless eggs and had the vegans hooked to it, will now be selling their lab-grown chicken to the citizens of Singapore.
With biotechnology gaining momentum with every passing year, it truly is extraordinary to have cell-cultured meat created in bioreactors as an alternative to slaughtering poor chickens for consumption. While certain religions have forbidden their followers from eating particular meats (pigs in Islam, cows in certain sects of Hindus, etc.), chicken is a go-to meat for people all over the globe.
With people becoming more concerned about issues like climate change, sustainability, and animal rights, it is no surprise that we will see more feats like these in the near future.
Just recently, when the Chinese government started commercializing slaughterhouses all over Tibet, the Buddhists retaliated and requested their people not to participate in any such efforts. Be it the religious motivation or merely general empathy, the narrative against slaughtering animals for food is now being heard.
Moreover, sustainability and moving towards more healthy options is also one of the agendas for biotech startups and companies of today.
One of the startling statistics by the Food and Agricultural Organization states:
‘Livestock is the world’s largest user of land resources, with pasture and arable land dedicated to the production of feed representing almost 80% of the total agricultural land. One-third of global arable land is used to grow feed, while 26% of the Earth’s ice-free terrestrial surface is used for grazing.’
Using the same land for growing crops instead can do wonders for us in terms of the air quality as well as the temperature (global warming). Many people have started leaning towards plant-based options for their food. Plant-based meats by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have grabbed people’s attention for quite a while now due to the same reasons.
However, the chicken still remains one of the meats many people would still compromise on due to its undeniable utility. Lab-grown chicken by Eat Just is using animal cells, still a relatively better option as opposed to using up the entire animal. For people who are against the slaughtering of animals, this definitely seems like a good cruelty-free alternative. For vegetarians, of course, it uses animal cells as the basis, so it is hard to say how acceptable they are going to be with it.
The next question that must be addressed is how safe is this lab-grown chicken meat? The Singapore Food Agency, the food regulatory authority of the country, has assured that their team of experts on the subject has gone through the company’s regulatory framework and has rigorously tested the cultured meat before giving their final word. Since Singapore has now become the first country to ever approve synthetic meat for commercial consumption, we can only hope that they are setting the right precedent as far as the consumer’s safety is concerned.
The innovative startup has decided to use its lab-grown meat for making nuggets as of now. The nugget will be priced at $50, a fairly high price to pay for a nugget, people would say. Eat Just aims to bring the price down as soon as the production gains momentum. These nuggets will be available in various restaurants across the country. The company is using animal cells cultured in a bioreactor with a few plant-based ingredients to make its lab-grown chicken meat. Previously, when Eat Just introduced its plant-based eggs, people could hardly distinguish between it and the real eggs. Consumers are now eager how authentic the nuggets from lab-grown chicken meat are going to taste.