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Cultured meat approved for sale for the first time

Image: @heytowner, gray and red rooster photo, Unsplash, Unsplash Licence

Lab-grown chicken meat produced by the US company Eat Just has been approved for sale for the first time ever. The Singapore Food Agency approved a production line of Eat Just’s GOOD Meat brand. This production line uses animal-based growth media (containing foetal bovine serum) because a plant-based alternative was not available at the time that the regulatory approval process started.

The initial production line uses cells from a cell bank. Although it is possible to establish cell lines without slaughtering an animal, it is not clear whether this is the case for the specific cell line used for GOOD Meat.

According to the GOOD Meat website, the product contains 7 grams of protein and 0.5 grams of fat per 100g and the manufacturing process does not use antibiotics.

Media coverage and reactions include:

  • The Guardian: Lab-grown chicken tastes like chicken – but the feeling when eating it is more complicated
  • MIT Technology Review: Cultured meat has been approved for consumers for the first time
  • Blog post by Philip Lymbery of Compassion in World Farming: Why World’s First Approval For Cultured Meat Is Good For Us All
  • Elaine Siu, Managing Director of The Good Food Institute Asia Pacific said: “The race to divorce meat production from industrial animal agriculture is underway and nations that follow Singapore’s lead will be able to reap the benefits as the entire world shifts to this new and better way of making meat.”
  • Writer and environmentalist George Monbiot said: “One day, when cultured meat is the norm, we will look back on the age when animals were reared and slaughtered to serve our appetites with horror and disgust.”
  • Joanna Blythman said: “The nutrient broth in the bioreactor where this material grew included foetal bovine serum, extracted from foetal blood. Why would vegans, or vegetarians, ever give such products the time of day? The ‘yuck’ factor is massive. As for omnivores, why on earth would we desert traditionally reared meat for this fool’s gold? You only have to step into a proper butcher’s shop in the lead-up to Christmas to see just how greatly people prize good meat and how embedded meat-eating is in our culture.”

Read the full story here. See also the Table explainer How can we reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions?

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