Eat Just says it will be able to scale-up production of cell-based meat in Singapore now the US firm has received approval from the local regulator for its “serum-free media”.

The new approval comes more than two years after the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) gave permission for Eat Just’s meat created in a laboratory from animal cells to be sold in the city-state.

Provided to Eat Just’s Good Meat cultivated-meat division, the new approval was described by the California-based business as a “technical and regulatory milestone”, which will lead to “greater scalability, lower manufacturing costs and a more sustainable product”.

Eat Just – formerly known as Hampton Creek – claims the approval is the first of its kind and paves the way for the production of larger quantities of chicken made from cells instead of slaughtered animals.

Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just, said: “Not too long ago, observers thought removing serum was a major limiting step to scaling cultivated-meat. I could not be prouder of our team for doing just that and receiving approval to commercialise it this week. It’s yet another step forward for our company, the cultivated-meat industry and the health of our planet.”

Removing serum – the fluid component of blood used in bioreactors to cultivate animal cells into the muscle, fat, and connective tissues needed for meat production – as the media or growth trigger for the cell-based meat process is seen as a major factor in driving down costs and thus expanding commercialisation of lab-created protein.

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Eat Just, best known for its faux egg product, has created alternative media based on amino acids, sugar and salt.

Today’s regulatory approval for the media comes as bioreactors are being installed as part of the construction process of the company’s Singapore production centre that will have the capacity to make tens of thousands of pounds of meat. The facility will house what Eat Just claims to be the single-largest bioreactor in the cultivated-meat industry to date: a 6,000-litre vessel. The plant is due to open this year.

Singapore became the first country in the world to allow the commercial sale of cultivated meat in December 2020 when it granted approval to Eat Just.

Since then, the company’s lab-created chicken has featured on menus at fine dining establishments, food stalls and via food delivery.

On the new approval for the company’s serum-free media, Damian Chan, executive vice president of the Singapore Economic Development Board, said: “We congratulate Good Meat on achieving this milestone in scaling up cultivated-meat production. This complements the company’s work in Singapore to build and operate its bioreactor facility where over 50 research scientists and engineers will develop innovative capabilities in the cultivated-meat space, such as media optimisation, process development, and texturisation of cultivated-meat products.”

In November, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the first time raised no objections to a cell-based meat product being made available for human consumption.

The regulator told California-based food-tech business Upside Foods that, “while this is not an approval process”, the company will be able to launch its cell-based meat products once it has been inspected by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

See Just Food’s guide: Leading the charge – the companies at the cutting edge of cell-based protein product development