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First sale of lab-grown meat, a landmark moment for ethical consumption?

This week, cultured meat produced in a bioreactor was approved for sale by a regulatory authority. The development has been labelled a groundbreaking moment for the meat industry, with no animal slaughter taking part in the production process. American company 'Eat Just' have produced the chicken bites, which were approved following a safety assessment by a Singapore Food Agency.

A multiplicity of firms are beginning to cultivate products from pork, chicken and beef cells with the intention of mitigating the impact of livestock production and its contribution to the climate crisis. Additionally, the production will provide drug and cruelty-free meat products to the public. The Guardian confirmed that 'currently, about 130 million chickens are slaughtered every day for meat, and 4 million pigs...by weight, 60% of the mammals on earth are livestock, 36% are humans and only 4% are wild.'

Image source: The Guardian

The green light being provided to the US start up is a landmark moment in both tech and food production industries. Singapore only produces about 10 per cent of its food but is now projecting to increase that over the next five to ten years through these means, with mass investment into high-tech farming and emerging methods of food production.

The cells used to start the process for the meat were acquired at a cell bank, and did not require animal slaughter as the cells are extracted from biopsies of living chickens, additionally, nutrients supplemented to cells were all sourced from plants.

Eat Just initially costed the nuggets at approximately $US50 each, but can now sell the pieces at a price similar to store-bought premium chicken.The cells are grown in a 1,200 litre bioreactor and then mixed with plant-based products. Eat Just has announced that initial availability would be limited and the bites would be sold in a restaurant in Singapore for the introductory sale period. Once production is scaled up Eat Just said it would ultimately be a cheaper and more readily available product.

The product is an exciting development in food production, but raises many questions surrounding worldwide approval, testing, production and exportation. While many challenges are set to arise, it is undeniable that this product may have extremely positive impacts on the imminent climate crisis and transform the way we consume, forever.