Singapore has given U.S. startup Eat Just approval to sell its lab-grown chicken meat.

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) approved this week the sale of a lab-grown meat product. This is the first time cultured meat has been cleared for sale anywhere in the world. It has first offered to sell the product to restaurants, before making it directly available to the consumers. The latest innovation states that the so-called clean meat that does not come from slaughtered animals.

The meat, to be sold as nuggets, will be priced at premium chicken prices when it first launches in a restaurant in Singapore “in the very near term”, co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick said.

The decision comes after a two-year approval process, during which the start-up completed more than 20 production rounds in a 1,200-litre bioreactor to prove that it could manufacture its cultured chicken to consistent quality and safety standards.

According to the company, tests found that the cultured chicken had an “extremely low and significantly cleaner” microbiological content than real chicken, which can contain bacteria transferred from the gut, skin and feet of the birds.

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Singapore meat

Other food companies are also trying to bring cultured meat to market. Last month, Israeli startup SuperMeat started it’s first cultured meat restaurant in Tel Aviv. Its lab-grown chicken is offered to diners for free in exchange for feedback since it has not yet been approved for sale.

“Working in partnership with the broader agriculture sector and forward-thinking policymakers, companies like ours can help meet the increased demand for animal protein as our population climbs to 9.7 billion by 2050,” said Eat Just’s co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick.

According to a study published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal, the cultured meat requires 99 per cent lower land use than the production of conventional meat, as well as up to 96 per cent lower water use and greenhouse gas emissions depending on the type of meat.

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