First lab-grown chicken nuggets just hit restaurants in Singapore, and more ‘slaughter-free’ meats could arrive in 2021

Credit: Hampton Creek
Credit: Hampton Creek

The company behind [an in vitro cultured] poultry product, Eat Just, has since sold more than 200 servings of the poultry to 1880, a club in Singapore, and plans to expand to other restaurants on the island nation this year.

The Singapore Food Agency’s decision marks the world’s first commercial approval of cultured, or cell-based, meat. “It’s really exciting,” says Elizabeth Derbes, associate director of regulatory affairs at the Good Food Institute (GFI).

With this much interest from startups and investors, regulators are bound to see several applications for approval in 2021. Many regions, including the European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Israel, have novel food regulation already on the books that will likely cover cultured meat, says Derbes.

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Since October, Tel Aviv-based SuperMeat has been serving free meals from its factory-side restaurant, The Chicken—a way to get its lab-grown chicken out to the public before an official green light from regulators. In Japan, it may already be possible to sell cultivated meat, depending on how one interprets existing laws, but Japanese authorities are considering developing a regulatory framework.

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For some people, like [Just Eat CEO Josh] Tetrick, eliminating the slaughter of animals is reason enough to press on. “I don’t think we need to kill another [animal] to have dinner with our friends and family,” he says.

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