Historic moment as restaurant serves lab-grown chicken in Singapore

Chicken bites made from lab-grown, photo: Eat Just / Reuters
Chicken bites made from lab-grown, photo: Eat Just / Reuters

Lab-grown chicken meat made a historic debut on Saturday at restaurant 1880 in Singapore, the first country to allow the sale of meat created without slaughtering any animals.

US start-up Eat Just said earlier this month that their cultured meat, grown from animal muscle in a lab, had been approved for sale as an ingredient in chicken nuggets.

The restaurant 1880 served the cultured meat to students who had been invited to the launch after showing “a commitment to building a better planet”. Due to coronavirus measures, the launch was closed for media.

Entrepreneur Marc Nicholson, who founded 1880, described serving cultured meat as a “revolutionary step towards solving climate change and creating the opportunity to feed the world without overwhelming the planet”.

There were concerns that lab-grown varieties would be too expensive, but a spokesman for Eat Just said the company had made “considerable progress” in lowering the cost.

Demand for sustainable meat alternatives is rising due to growing concerns from consumers about the environment and animal welfare. Lab-grown meat could feed all meat-craving people without hurting a single animal or destroying forests.

Raising cows, pigs and chicken generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all cars, trucks and automobiles combined, the environmental organization Greenpeace said. Animal farmers also cut millions of trees to create space to keep their animals.

Eat Just chief executive Josh Tetrick said this week that the launch “moves us closer to a world where the majority of meat we eat will not require tearing down a single forest, displacing a single animal’s habitat or using a single drop of antibiotics”.

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