Latest Headlines

  • The stuff of science fiction has landed on our plates. Meat grown in a lab, instead of inside the body of an animal, has been approved for sale for the first time. The Singapore Food Agency has given regulatory approval to Eat Just’s “chicken bites”, grown from the cells of a chicken that’s still flapping its wings. The US startup took a biopsy of cells from a live chicken, bathed them in a nutrient medium and grew them in a bioreactor, where they grew exponentially until the meat was harvested, encased in batter and turned into nuggets. The ruling means that, for the first time, cultured meat can be sold to the public.

  • A group of American scientists and designers have developed a concept for a grow-your-own steak kit using human cells and blood to question the ethics of the cultured meat industry. Ouroboros Steak could be grown by the diner at home using their own cells, which are harvested from the inside of their cheek and fed serum derived from expired, donated blood.

  • From food irradiation to freeze drying, supply-chain technologies have enhanced the safety and sustainability of foods. Since 1961, global food supply per capita has increased more than 30 per cent. However, public acceptance of new technologies might prove a tricky obstacle to building a more sustainable food supply chain.

  • Malnutrition and food insecurity are perennial issues in the small, landlocked nation, where more than half of the population live below the poverty line. The coronavirus, which has infected nearly 5,500 people and killed more than 170, has only exacerbated food shortages as many livelihoods have been curtailed by confinement measures. For mice hunter Bernard Simeon, from Malawi’s central Ntcheu district, the pandemic has brought new complexities to his poverty-stricken life. A popular snack when food is bountiful, mice have become a vital source of protein in Malawi since the coronavirus outbreak aggravated food shortages and economic hardship.

  • One surprising result of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a spike in consumer demand for imitation meats. According to a Nielsen report, during the first nine weeks of the crisis in the United States, grocery store sales of faux-meat products increased 264 percent. The reasons included concerns about illness at meatpacking plants, the possible spread of disease from industrial livestock operations, and even fears about the animal origins of Covid-19 itself.