Will lab-grown chicken meat get your approval?

Around the world, Sundays are known for two things – nice sleep and non-vegetarian lunch. But when you are a non-vegetarian, at one point of time it would have occurred that you should not have taken that poor chicken’s breath away!

Sometimes the mind of a non-vegetarian oscillates whether he/she should quit being a non-vegetarian or continue. This oscillation may also occur because of various reasons but if hurting a chicken is your only reason to consider avoiding it, soon you can see a gradual but certain change happen in the meat industry.

The first of many changes to come started recently in Singapore. The Government over there granted permission to a US based Start-Up for the sale of its lab-grown chicken meat, after an iterative and extensive safety review by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) on the product.

The meat is created directly from animal cell in laboratory. An official statement from Eat Just said that their product was confirmed to be safe and nutritious for human consumption by a distinguished outside panel of international scientific authorities in Singapore and the United States, with expertise in medicine, toxicology, allergenicity, cell biology and food safety. An alternative to conventional meat can certainly woo customers and the market everywhere.

In 2019, researchers from IIT-Guwahati developed lab grown meat in their Biomaterial/Tissue Engineering Laboratory. The researchers took different kinds of cells from animals through biopsies, and developed the meat in their lab.  ” These tissue-engineered meat are being cultured and grown in inexpensive culture media, recently developed and patented in our laboratory…Usage of external chemicals like hormones, animal serum, growth factors or antibiotics have been restricted in this preparation, hence it is safe on ethical concerns,” researcher Biman B Mandal of IIT-Guwahati told India Today.

They also said “the taste of the final meat product will remain similar to raw meat but with improvised nutritional values as per customer needs.” They had patented their technique last year.  In the same year, British multinational investment bank and financial services company Barclays said in 2019 that the market for alternative meat can reach $140 billion over the next decade, globally.

Sources reported that more than two dozen firms are testing lab-grown fish, beef and chicken across the world. No matter how much innovation happens in this meat industry, like in the rest fields, customer is king, and even if the regulatory authorities give green light for selling of these alternatives in the local retail stores, it still needs your approval to prevail.

Acceptability will largely be based on nutrition, safety and cost. Products like these can make an entry in the urban markets and shelves with less trouble, and it will find it customers in institutions such as hotels and cafeterias in organizations. Seeing them in our table will take a lot of time but the question is ‘Would you approve this type of meat?’ We hope the answer will find us within the next 5 to 10 years.