Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Most of us have been baffled at the joke-cum-riddle at young but doesn’t it leave you perplexed. Well, whatever it may have been earlier but now with par excellence of scientific methodologies at human disposal, we can have chicken without eggs or eggs without the chicken.
Yes, you heard it right, in a very significant move, Singapore becomes the first country in the world to approve lab-grown chicken products. Singapore has given greenlight to Eat Just Inc. It is a maker of meat and egg substitutes for the production and supply of ‘laboratory-created chicken’ and registered its name in history as the first government to allow the sale of cultured meat.
Chicken for sale, till now was produced by raising fast-growing chicken breeds in batches in tightly packed warehouses that grow a question at workers safety, public health and fire hazard and a hazard to the well being of the chicken themselves. Furthermore, the move also comes given the rising demands of chicken consumption and the consumer concerns about health, animal welfare and the environment. Today, we have come across many alternatives to traditional meat popular among health, animal and environmental concerns which have opened the doors of plant-based options, universalized by Beyond Meat Inc and Impossible Foods in the shelves of supermarkets and restaurant menus. However, the culturing of meat from animal cells in the lab is an emerging area.
As a replacement of the regular chicken, the lab-grown meat will be sold in Singapore as an ingredient in ‘chicken bites’. For the first time, any country has permitted synthetic meat grown from an animal cell. A way forward, indeed!
‘Our chicken is not “artificial”,’ says Eat Just spokesperson Andrew Noyes. ‘Cultured meat is made from animal cells, the same input and essential composition of conventional meat,’ he explains.
The journey to make history wasn’t easy for the Eat Just either. Eat Just rendered comprehensive documentation on the characterisation of its cultured chicken, followed by explaining the product’s production. The company also focused on the identity, purity and stability of the chicken cells during the manufacturing process, concluding with a confirmation on the quality controls and safety parameters.
Furthermore, the company analysis brought to fore the product’s macronutrient composition highlighting the high protein content; more amino acid composition, relatively high levels of monounsaturated fats, and other rich sources of minerals.
‘I’m sure that our regulatory approval for cultured meat will be the first of many in Singapore and in countries around the globe,’ said Josh Tetrick, the company’s co-founder and chief executive reportedly said.
However, the so-called clean and cultured meat from animal muscle cells in a lab is at the embryonic stage, given its high production cost.
Singapore, a city-state with a population of 5.7 million, only produces about 10% of its food. Still, it has determined plans of advancement over the next decade by promoting high-tech farming and new food production. And the ‘chicken bites’ on the shelves could be the first step towards the glorious goal.