Singapore approves cultured meat for commercial sale

Eat Just is developing chicken nuggets derived from animal cells. (Image source: Pixabay)

Singapore has become the first country on Earth to approve cultured meat for commercial sale

On Wednesday, 2 December, the Singapore Food Agency stated that the cultured chicken produced by the San Francisco-based start-up Eat Just met the safety standards for use in nuggets and opened the door for commercial launch in the country.

Cultured meat, otherwise known as cultivated meat or clean meat, involves the use of cultured animal cells to produce realistic meat-like food products without the need to slaughter animals.

Proponents of cultured meat believe that it could help to overcome the ethical and environmental issues of animal farming while still allowing consumers to enjoy eating meat. Investments have poured into the industry in recent years, with companies such as Memphis Meats, Shiok Meats and Mosa Meat having completed funding rounds in 2020.

However, the industry has faced several challenges that have prevented the release of a commercial product. These include high production costs, difficulty in scaling up production, and securing regulatory approval. Before Wednesday’s announcement, no regulatory regime in the world had approved cultured meat, with the approval process in the EU and US set to take years.

Approval in Singapore is, therefore, a major step forward for the cultured meat industry. The safety testing carried out in the approval process is likely to be useful for approval in other regimes, and a successful commercial launch in the country may help convince regulators around the world that cultured meat is safe.