An American startup will begin selling lab-grown chicken in Singapore after winning what it calls the world’s first government approval for “cultured” meat.

San Francisco-based Eat Just uses chicken muscle cells to produce the sustainable and healthy alternative to meat from slaughtered birds.

The company says it will bring its chicken nuggets to market in Singapore after winning the landmark regulatory clearance from the Singapore Food Agency. Eat Just plans to grow the man-made poultry in the Southeast Asian city-state and sell it to restaurants before making it available to consumers.

“I’m sure that our regulatory approval for cultured meat will be the first of many in Singapore and in countries around the globe,” Josh Tetrick, the company’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement Tuesday.

Eat Just is part of a global market for meat alternatives that’s seen significant growth amid concerns about the meat industry’s harmful effects on health and the environment.

Plant-based products from companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have become popular in recent years, and major fast food chains such as Burger King and McDonald’s have jumped on the bandwagon by selling meatless burgers.

While the costs of making lab-grown chicken are high, Eat Just says it’s developed a manufacturing process to consistently produce cultured meat that meets the same safety and quality standards as regular poultry meat.

The company — which is valued at about $1.2 billion and counts Singapore’s state-owned investment firm, Temasek, among its supporters — said it had to go through an “extensive” safety review to win approval from the Singapore Food Agency.

The clearance came as Singapore seeks to reduce its reliance on foreign food suppliers. The country has set a goal of producing 30 percent of its own food by 2030, up from about 10 percent today.

With Post Wires

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