Lab Grown Chicken is Now For Sale

Real Chicken

Lab Grown Chicken is Now For Sale

Author: Amanda Ilkov | Published: December 7, 2020 | Updated: December 11, 2020

Cultured meat holds the promise of future where meat is cheaper, cruelty free and less damaging to the environment. It sounds great, but the shift to cultured meat may be hard for consumers to swallow. Would you eat meat grown not on a farm, but in a lab?

Would you eat lab grown chicken? Meat from a bioreactor? It sounds technology straight out of a sci-fi movie, but you may soon have the option to buy meat grown in a lab. People in Singapore already do. And in Israel, you can already book a table at “The Chicken” test restaurant and try a cultured chicken burger for yourself.

How does it taste? Well, like chicken.

    Singapore Becomes Worlds First

    When hungry diners head out to eat in Singapore, they’ll soon have a new option. Lab grown meat is now on the menu.

    Last week, Singapore’s government became the first in the world to approve lab grown chicken for sale to the public. The Singapore Food Agency will allow the sale of chicken bites made with cultured meat, produced by an American startup called Eat Just.

    Josh Tetrick, CEO of Eat Just says, “I’m sure that our regulatory approval for cultured meat will be the first of many in Singapore and in countries around the globe”. [3]

    Singapore hopes that by supporting high-tech food production, it will increase the percentage of food it produces for it’s 5.7 million residents. Currently only 10% of the food consumed in the city state is produced there. [1]

    So called “cultured meat”, is becoming a reality in other parts of the world too. In Israel, the new protein source is being tested publicly, although it is not yet approved for sale. [7]

    What is Lab Grown Chicken?

    Lab grown chicken is type of poultry grown as a cultured meat product rather than on a live animal.

    The meat is grown in vitro from healthy cells taken from a live donor animal, or sometimes even from an egg. The cells are then fed a serum and placed in bio reactors to grow for several days or weeks. The process is similar to the one used to grow tissue for medical use.

    Proponents say growing meat this way eliminates the need to raise and slaughter actual animals, and could provide a stable, predictable supply of meat free of antibiotics.

    This process is part of the new and growing field of Cellular Agriculture. Proponents say it could eventually eliminate the need for farming animals to produce common foods and animal products like milk, eggs, leather and meat.

  • Wikipedia's Definition of Cultured Meat

    Cultured meat is meat produced by in vitro cell culture of animal cells, instead of from slaughtered animals. It is a form of cellular agriculture.

    Cultured meat is produced using many of the same tissue engineering techniques traditionally used in regenerative medicine. The concept of cultured meat was popularized by Jason Matheny in the early 2000s after co-authoring a seminal paper on cultured meat production and creating New Harvest [8], the world's first nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting in vitro meat research.

  • Wikipedia's Definition of Cellular Agriculture

    Cellular agriculture focuses on the production of agriculture products from cell cultures using a combination of biotechnology, tissue engineering, molecular biology, and synthetic biology to create and design new methods of producing proteins, fats, and tissues that would otherwise come from traditional agriculture.

    Most of the industry is focused on animal products such as meat, milk, and eggs, produced in cell culture rather than raising and slaughtering farmed livestock. The most well known cellular agriculture concept is cultured meat.

How Does Lab Grown Chicken Taste?

Oliver Holmes was the first journalist to get a taste of SuperMeats cultured chicken burger. [7]

In a stylish restaurant in Tel Aviv, Mr. Holmes sat just feet away from the huge metal vats where the chicken in his dinner was grown. The dining room is divided from the lab only by a wall of glass. Ido Savir, CEO of SuperMeats, jokes “That’s true local production of meat”. [7]

The restaurant, called “The Chicken”, is owned by SuperMeats. It serves as a sort of testing and research facility for the companies cultured chicken products.

    Oliver Holmes at The Chicken
    Photo Credit: Quique Kierszenbaum
    Oliver Holmes at The Chicken

    Tastes Like Chicken

    Oliver Holmes of The Guardian recently tried SuperMeats chicken burger at "The Chicken" in Tel Aviv. The cultured meat was grown in the metal vats at the back of the restaurant.

    Read the Full Story

The lab grown chicken burger is served as a breaded, deep fried patty on a brioche bun. It’s topped with wasabi and chilli mayo and comes with a side of sweet potato fries. At first glance, it looks just like any other chicken burger. It tastes familiar too. Holmes describes the chicken patty: “Similar to many chicken burgers, it breaks and flakes when pulled apart and is extremely tender”. [7]

Some Big Hurdles Ahead

The cultured meat industry faces a number of challenges, not the least of which is price.

Regulation poses another hurdle for the fledgling lab-meat industry. Singapore is currently the only country in the world where cultured meat products have been approved for sale to the public. In Israel, SuperMeat’s restaurant allows patrons to taste test their chicken burger, but they’re still not allowed to sell it.

    Further Reading

    Interested in cultured meat and lab grown chicken? Here are a few links worth checking out.

    Fluorescent Cells Counted
    Photo Credit: New Harvest
    Fluorescent Cells Counted

    New Harvest is the non-profit research institute building the field of cellular agriculture. It was established in 2004, and is a registered public charity in the United States.

    Read More
    Chicken Bites
    Photo Credit: Eat Just
    Eat Just's Good Meat Cultured Chicken Bites

    Eat Just Website

    Just Eat is known for its plant based eggs. It now produces cultured chicken products, and was recently approved to sell it's cultured chicken bites in Singapore.

    Read More
    SuperMeat Chicken
    Photo Credit: SuperMeat
    SuperMeat Chicken

    SuperMeat Website

    SuperMeat produces cultured chicken products directly from chicken cells. They're based in Israel, and recently launched a test restaurant in Tel Aviv called "The Chicken".

    Visit SuperMeat
    Memphis Meat
    Photo Credit: Memphis Meat
    Memphis Meat cultured meat skewers.

    Memphis Meats Website

    Memphis Meat was founded in 2015 by cell biologist Nicholas Genovese, Ph.D. and cardiologist Uma Valeti, M.D. in Berkley, California. The US based company hopes to feed 10 billion people by 2050.


Reference Source Citations

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