Singapore this week became the first country to approve lab-grown meat, in this case chicken nuggets from U.S. firm Eat Just.
The chicken nuggets will carry an unspecified premium price when it first launches in a restaurant in Singapore “in the very near term,” Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just, said in a Reuters news service story.
No other company appears ready to launch cultured meat commercially – nor has Eat Just just yet. Israeli biotech firm Aleph Farms Ltd. was to unveil a prototype of its commercial product, thin-cut beef steaks, at the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit Nov. 20, also in Singapore. One report said a company called Shiok Meats recently unveiled cell-based lobster meat that it aims to commercialize by 2022, again in Singapore.
There's been a fair amount of investing in the technology, including from traditional meat companies like Tyson and Cargill. USDA and FDA in late 2018 held a joint public hearing on the subject and said they will jointly oversee the technology … whenever it and they are ready.
Eat Just Inc., formerly known as Hampton Creek Foods, apparently has quite a relationship with Singapore. In October, the company announced a partnership with an Asian consortium that will invest $100 million to help Eat Just build what they claim will be the largest plant protein production facility in Singapore.
Reuters noted Singapore, a city state of 5.7 million, produces only about 10% of its food but has ambitious plans to raise that over the next decade by supporting high-tech farming and new means of food production.