BFD: Lab Grown, No-Kill Meat Approved

January 14, 2021

Watch this space.


Cultured meat, produced in bioreactors without the slaughter of an animal, has been approved for sale by a regulatory authority for the first time. The development has been hailed as a landmark moment across the meat industry.

The “chicken bites”, produced by the US company Eat Just, have passed a safety review by the Singapore Food Agency and the approval could open the door to a future when all meat is produced without the killing of livestock, the company said.

Dozens of firms are developing cultivated chicken, beef and pork, with a view to slashing the impact of industrial livestock production on the climate and nature crises, as well as providing cleaner, drug-free and cruelty-free meat. 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.

The cells for Eat Just’s product are grown in a 1,200-litre bioreactor and then combined with plant-based ingredients. Initial availability would be limited, the company said, and the bites would be sold in a restaurant in Singapore. The product would be significantly more expensive than conventional chicken until production was scaled up, but Eat Just said it would ultimately be cheaper.

The cells used to start the process came from a cell bank and did not require the slaughter of a chicken because cells can be taken from biopsies of live animals. The nutrients supplied to the growing cells were all from plants.

The growth medium for the Singapore production line includes foetal bovine serum, which is extracted from foetal blood, but this is largely removed before consumption. A plant-based serum would be used in the next production line, the company said, but was not available when the Singapore approval process began two years ago.

A series of scientific studies have shown that people in rich nations eat more meat than is healthy for them or the planet. Research shows cutting meat consumption is vital in tackling the climate crisis and some scientists say this is the best single environmental action a person can take.

The companies developing lab-grown meat believe this is the product most likely to wean committed meat-eaters off traditional sources. Vegan diets are viewed as unappealing by some, and plant-based meat replacements are not always regarded as replicating the texture and flavour of conventional meat. Meat cultivated in bioreactors also avoids the issues of bacterial contamination from animal waste and the overuse of antibioticsand hormones in animals.

The small scale of current cultured meat production requires a relatively high use of energy and therefore carbon emissions. But once scaled up its manufacturers say it will produce much lower emissions and use far less water and land than conventional meat.

Josh Tetrick, of Eat Just, said: “I think the approval is one of the most significant milestones in the food industry in the last handful of decades. It’s an open door and it’s up to us and other companies to take that opportunity. My hope is this leads to a world in the next handful of years where the majority of meat doesn’t require killing a single animal or tearing down a single tree.”

But he said major challenges remained, with the reaction of consumers to cultured meat perhaps being the most significant: “Is it different? For sure. Our hope is through transparent communication with consumers, what this is and how it compares to conventional meat, we’re able to win. But it’s not a guarantee.” He said the cultured chicken was nutritionally the same as conventional meat.

Other challenges included getting regulatory approval in other nations and increasing production. “If we want to serve the entire country of Singapore, and eventually bring it to elsewhere in the world, we need to move to 10,000-litre or 50,000-litre-plus bioreactors,” Tetrick said.

Eat Just already has experience in selling non-animal products, such as its plant-based egg and vegan mayonnaise, to consumers. Another company, in Israel, has just begun free public tastings involving a “crispy cultured chicken”.

Industry experts said other companies, including Memphis MeatsMosa Meat and Aleph Farms, might do well in future as they were working on textured products such as steaks and were able to produce significant amounts of lab-grown meat from the start. Tyson and Cargill, two of the world’s biggest conventional meat companies, now have a stake in Memphis Meats.

18 Responses to “BFD: Lab Grown, No-Kill Meat Approved”

  1. jimbills Says:

    Former UN climate head Christina Figueres joins the board of Impossible Foods

  2. Gingerbaker Says:

    The giant carbohydrate-ultra-processing transnational mega corporations are behind this anti-meat pro-vegan push.

    The majority of livestock environmental damage is done in the 3rd and 2nd world – where people will never be able to afford McMeat nor give up their livestock.

    This is a 1st world ‘solution’ for a problem which is essentially nonexistent in the 1st world. In the real world, shoppers will hop into their Ford Excursions for a trip to Whole Foods to buy their boutique McMeat and come home feeling they are conquering global warming. This is madness.

  3. redskylite Says:

    Anyone heard from the DumbOldGuy lately ? not seen his contributions for a while – hope he is O.K.

    • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

      Second that. Suspect he is manning the barricades, or planning such, until the orange moron is safely out of the WH.
      Aside,seen on media. “Trump is a genius, that’s what the J stands for.” Explains a lot.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Yes, I have been spending most all of my efforts on politics since the election. Getting rid of Trump and countering all the lies his mindless cult members have been spreading can be full time job.

        I’ve also had some health issues that have slowed me down—-I’m 80-1/2 and starting to get OLD (But not too dumb yet). And I didn’t quite say to GB that crockers were boring me to death—-just that we keep covering the same ground with little to show for it. FOUR years wasted on climate change and environmental issues—-JFC! What a waste.

        I’ll try to get back in the mix once we get rid of the Orange Turd—-need to have the Senate trial and find him guilty, and see that he is prosecuted for all his crimes.

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      I just sent him an e-mail. 🙂

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        DOG is alive and says you all are boring him to tears.

        • jimbills Says:


          Well, people don’t really change, even on an individual level – and we are more than a little repetitive in our discussions here.

          Good to hear you’re well, though, DOG.

          • Gingerbaker Says:

            Right. As if domesticated livestock would somehow go on with their natural lives if they were unprofitable. Ahem. Or have a happy peaceful life and a humane death if somehow they were all set free.

            This cartoon is a perfect illustration of the simplistic idiocy of the debate. They should make a T shirt.

  4. Roger Walker Says:

    “Dozens of firms are developing cultivated chicken, beef and pork, with a view to slashing the impact of industrial livestock production on the climate and nature crises, …”

    I would suggest: … with a view to MAKING MONEY!

  5. Roger Walker Says:

    For me it’s a no-brainer. I’m an omnivore by definition and I like eating meat. At the same time, I’m shocked by the environmental damage wrought by the meat industry and uneasy with killing animals to cater to my taste. The day I can buy “something” that looks, smells, tastes and feels like a loin chop, a chicken leg or New Zealand lamb, I’m in. Like a shot.

    I think GB’s concern over the 3rd world is a red herring. Small-scale herding for local consumption may come to be seen as a problem, but it’s not an immediate moral problem, crying out to be solved, like the mega-scale raising of animals for meat.

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