Singapore has become the first country to approve cultured meat for commercial sale after the Singapore Food Agency said that the cell-based chicken produced by San Francisco-based start-up Eat Just met the safety standards for use in nuggets.

Eat Just, formerly Hampton Creek and JUST, claimed that it had made partnerships with local manufacturers in Singapore to produce cultured chicken cells and formulate the final product, which will initially be sold in restaurants. The company will begin by producing cultured chicken nuggets but will also apply for a permit to sell fillets.

Singapore has now become the first country in the world to give regulatory approval to ‘meat products’ which are created directly from animal cells.

Cultured meat, otherwise known as cultivated meat or clean meat, involves the use of cultured animal cells to create what is described as realistic meat-like food products, without slaughter.

In this case, the products come from a cell bank established from a biopsy of a live chicken. However, the growth medium for the production line includes fetal bovine serum, which is extracted from cattle fetuses, generally in slaughterhouses.

The company described it as a “breakthrough for the global food industry” and hopes for more countries to follow the path set by Singapore over coming years.

Josh Tetrick, CEO 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.”

The news follows the rise in some plant-based options from retailers and fast-food chains, with McDonald’s planning to release a ‘McPlant’ range in 2021 and with supermarkets such as Tesco’s targeting a 300% rise in vegan ‘meat’ sales.