FOOD & BEVERAGE | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Daily Briefing: SG approves sale of lab-grown meat in world first; Safety rules for new food inventions as demand for meat substitutes grows

And Davos may move to SG as WEF holds talks on 2021 location.

From Reuters:

Singapore has given US startup Eat Just the greenlight to sell its lab-grown chicken meat, in what the firm says is the world’s first regulatory approval for so-called clean meat that does not come from slaughtered animals.

The meat, to be sold as nuggets, will be priced at premium chicken prices when it first launches in a restaurant in Singapore “in the very near term,” co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick said.

Demand for alternatives to regular meat is surging due to concerns about health, animal welfare, and the environment.

Plant-based substitutes, popularised by the likes of Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, and Quorn, increasingly feature on supermarket shelves and restaurant menus.

But so-called clean or cultured meat, which is grown from animal muscle cells in a lab, is still at a nascent stage given high production costs.

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From ChannelNewsAsia:

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has a set of guidelines to assess the safety of "novel foods" such as plant-based proteins and cultured or lab-grown meat, amidst growing demand for meat substitutes.

Under the regulatory framework, which has been in place since November 2019, food businesses that intend to produce, import, and sell novel foods are required to submit safety assessments of their products before they are allowed for sale.

Companies must report on a product’s toxicity, allergens, and safety of its production method, as well as the materials used in the manufacturing processes and how they are controlled to prevent food safety risks.

"SFA will then review these safety assessments to ascertain that potential food safety issues have been addressed," the agency said on 2 December, adding that it has put together an eight-member panel made up of food scientists and health experts to "rigorously" study the information provided.

Novel foods are defined as foods and food ingredients that "do not have a history of safe use," according to a document detailing the requirements by SFA, which drew its definition from guidelines in countries like Australia, Canada, and Japan.

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From Bloomberg:

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has held preliminary talks with officials in Singapore about relocating its high-profile Davos annual meeting.

The WEF is currently planning to hold the 2021 event at the Buergenstock resort in Lucerne, but is considering alternative locations because of the status of the coronavirus outbreak in Europe.

Whilst the Forum and Singapore have held discussions, no decision has been made, according to a spokesperson at Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry.

They also said health and safety is the priority and any international conferences must adhere to strict rules.

The WEF plans to make a decision on the 2021 location by Christmas.

Read more here.

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