In a first for cultured meat, Eat Just has received regulatory approval to sell its cell-based chicken product. The company, best known at this point for its plant-based egg products, announced last night that its cultured chicken product has been approved for sale in Singapore as an ingredient in chicken bites. Other cultured chicken products are planned for the future.
According to a press release sent to The Spoon, this approval deems Eat Just’s cell-based chicken as “safe for human consumption.” To achieve this, and to the demonstrate safety and quality of its end product, the company spent months documenting its proprietary process for making cell-based chicken. An analysis included information on the identity and purity of the chicken cells, the full manufacturing process, as well as the nutritional components of the end product.
Eat Just worked with the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), Singapore’s regulatory authority for food safety. The company said it has also struck deals with “well-established local manufacturers” to finish the product before it goes out to restaurants.
Heading into restaurants first is in keeping with Eat Just CEO Josh Tetrick’s timeline for cell-based meat, which he outlined for us at this year’s Smart Kitchen Summit. Cell-based meat companies don’t simply jump from a successful prototype in the lab to mass commercialization. Rather, there are a number of stops along the way, the first of which is to get the prototype out of the lab and into a place like a restaurant. However, the journey for cell-based meats as they evolve from prototype stage will be lengthy: Tetrick put the timeline “somewhere north of 15 years” for when the buying public will find cell-based meats as ubiquitous as, say Coca-Cola products.
Getting regulatory approval is paramount to commercializing cell-based meat, so today’s news marks a significant milestone not only for Eat Just but for the entire cell-based meat sector, which has seen an astounding amount of investment over the last several months.
Commenting on Eat Just’s milestone, Good Food Institute Executive Director Bruce Friedrich said, “Cultivated meat will mark an enormous advance in our efforts to create a food supply that is safe, secure, and sustainable, and Singapore is leading the way on this transition.”
The regulatory approval will allow Eat Just to launch its forthcoming GOOD Meat brand in Singapore, the details of which are forthcoming at a later date.