When it comes to the meat industry, the numbers are grim for farmed animals. An estimated 130 million chickens and 4 million pigs are slaughtered every day for meat. By weight, 60 percent of the mammals on earth are livestock, 36 percent are humans and only 4 percent are wild. The slaughtering of so many animals is not only inhumane but requires an enormous amount of resources from our planet.
That’s why there has been a growing focus on lab-grown meat (also known as cultured meat), which is produced in bioreactors without the slaughter of an animal. It may sound a bit unappealing now, but it could very well be the future of meat. All of this leads us to exciting news from the cultured meat industry after a no-kill, the lab-grown chicken product was approved for sale by a regulatory authority for the first time ever.
Produced by San Francisco-based company Eat Just, the “chicken bites” have passed a safety review from the Singapore Food Agency, which means it can now be sold by restaurants and supermarkets in Singapore. Although Singapore is the first country to approve the sale of a lab-grown meat product, we can expect more countries to follow suit quickly, especially since there are dozens of firms currently developing cultured chicken, beef, and pork.
To produce their chicken product, Eat Just starts by using cells taken from a cell bank, which does not require the slaughter of a chicken because the cells can be taken from biopsies of live animals. Those cells are then provided nutrients from plants in a 1,200-liter bioreactor where the meat is grown.
Eat Just said the chicken bites are still significantly more expensive to produce than conventional chicken, but that will change when production is scaled up. For now, the bites will only be sold in a restaurant in Singapore.