The idea of lab-grown meat is very new and exciting, but not everyone is on board with it. In fact, an entire country actually banned the product completely.
However, while it might be banned in one place, it’s totally embraced in others — the product could be a game-changer for both animals and the environment. Lab-grown meat is legal in three countries so far, and there’s definitely potential for growth.
Where is lab-grown meat legal?
Lab-grown meat is appealing to environmentalists and animal lovers alike. This cell-cultivated product could reduce the need for the meat industry, which is known to have a negative impact on both the environment and animals.
Despite all of cultivated meat's potential benefits, not everyone is thrilled with the idea — it’s surprisingly controversial. Some countries have made an effort to explore and implement cell-based meat, while others have been more hesitant and cautious.
Singapore was the first country to allow the sale of lab-grown meat.
When it comes to lab-grown meat, Singapore is way ahead of the game. The country first approved the sale of cell-cultivated chicken in 2020.
To try the product, you'll have to head to the one restaurant offering it: Huber’s Butchery and Bistro in Singapore. There, you can try Eat Just’s GOOD Meat, which many customers consider “phenomenal,” according to BBC News.
You can choose from either a chicken sandwich or chicken pasta. However, there are only a few dining slots available throughout the week, and a very limited supply of the cell-based meat. Good luck getting a reservation.
Lab-grown meat will soon be sold in the United States, too.
The U.S. is the second country to approve the sale of lab-grown meat. Two cultivated meat companies — GOOD Meat and Upside Foods — were granted permission by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to produce and sell products on June 21, 2023, according to The Guardian.
As of publication, lab-grown meat is still a little ways away from being sold publicly in the U.S. — but in the near future, you'll be able to try cultivated meat products from Upside Foods at Bar Crenn in San Fransico, and GOOD Meat products at a José Andrés restaurant in Washington, D.C.
The Netherlands is the first country in Europe to allow lab-grown meat.
The Netherlands is making history and headlines as the first European country to allow lab-grown meat tastings. On July 5, 2023, the Dutch government stated that cultivated meat products will be available to consumers under a few conditions, according to Vegconomist.
Two brands, Mosa Meat and Meatable, have both had their lab-grown products approved by the Dutch government for tastings. The tastings will take place in the near future, as of July 2023.
That said, lab-grown meat cannot be sold on the market in the Netherlands until it acquires regulatory approval at the EU level, as per Vegconomist.
On the flip side, Italy has actually banned lab-grown meat.
Instead of embracing lab-grown meat like the Netherlands, Singapore, and the U.S., Italy is banning it. Francesco Lollobrigida, the country’s minister of agriculture, stated that lab-grown foods will be banned in Italy, according to The Conversation.
Lollobrigda said that the ban is mostly meant to protect Italian farmers; however, the government has expressed apprehension about the quality of lab-grown foods as well. Italy is known for its culinary heritage — the country doesn’t want anything to threaten that.
It's important to note that foods like beer and yogurt are also technically grown in labs.
Many wonder whether Italy made the right choice. After all, lab-grown meat could be a huge tool for tackling the climate crisis, which is an ever-present and increasingly dangerous issue. If we want to make progress, a few things are going to have to change.
Will Italy set a precedent regarding lab-grown meat? Hopefully, other countries will give the product a chance to thrive and be supported by the public.