Cell-cultured chicken meat will make its debut at the COP27 climate conference being held in Egypt this month.
Good Meat, the cultivated meat division of the Bay Area food tech company Eat Just, is bringing its lab-grown chicken to Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, the site city for the U.N. climate event.
Eat Just is currently the only company to have received regulatory approval for the sale and distribution of cultured meat; its chicken received approval from the Singapore government nearly two years ago. The chicken will be showcased as part of COP27’s Singapore Pavillion for the first time outside of the city-state.
“We hope our guests at COP27 find their cultivated chicken meals both delicious and thought-provoking and they leave the summit with a new appreciation for the role food innovation can play in combatting the global climate crisis,” Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just, said in a statement. “There is no better place to launch our next version than right here at the world’s most consequential climate change gathering.”
The chicken will be served this coming weekend, from Saturday, Nov. 12 through Monday, Nov. 14 at invitation-only events, Eat Just said.
COP26 food criticism
Last year’s COP26 came under fire for serving animal products throughout the two-week conference. Critics compared it to serving cigarettes at a lung cancer conference. Agriculture is a leading cause of climate change, producing more than 14 percent of all global emissions; animal products are responsible for at least 60 percent of the sector’s emissions, according to a study published last year in the journal Nature Food.
“To produce more meat you need to feed the animals more, which then generates more emissions,” Xiaoming Xu, University of Illinois researcher and the lead author of the paper said in a statement last year. “You need more biomass to feed animals in order to get the same amount of calories. It isn’t very efficient.”
The United Nations’ own Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also recently called for drastic reductions to agricultural emissions including methane, which is produced by ruminants including cattle and sheep. Methane doesn’t linger in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide, but while present it traps more heat, accelerating the impacts of climate change. A recent IPCC report called for at least a 30-percent drop in methane emissions before the end of the decade.
Cultivated meat in the fight against climate change
Cultivated meat is expected to play a key role in reducing the industry’s emissions footprint once more countries approve it for sale and consumption.
Cultivated meat, which is grown with real animal cells in bioreactors instead of requiring raising and culling livestock, reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 96 percent compared to conventional meat, according to recent findings from Oxford.
Good Meat is partnering with the Good Food Institute Asia Pacific (GFI APAC) and others in the Singapore Pavillion to showcase efforts underway across the region.
“Singapore was the first country to allow the sale of meat made without tearing down a single forest or displacing an animal’s habitat, and we look forward to other countries following in their footsteps,” Tetrick said.