Cultivated Meat Takes Flight: US Greenlights Lab-Grown Chicken Production
Upside Foods and Good Meat have received approval from the US Department of Agriculture to commence production of cultivated chicken. This marks a transformative shift in sustainable food innovation.
Cultivated meat is revolutionising the U.S. food industry. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has given Upside Foods and Good Meat the green light to produce cell-based proteins. These companies grow the meat in large bioreactors.
This landmark decision follows a series of regulatory milestones that have paved the way for the sale of cultivated meat in the US.
The Path to Approval
Good Meat, a subsidiary of Eat Just, which is renowned for its plant-based egg substitute, revealed that they would begin production immediately. Previously, in March, Good Meat received a “no questions” letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), signifying the agency’s confidence in the product’s safety. Upside Foods received a similar endorsement from the FDA in November.
The regulatory clearance obtained on Wednesday is termed as a “grant of inspection” issued by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). This is awarded following a thorough examination of a company’s food safety system. The fledgling cultivated meat sector falls under the dual jurisdiction of the USDA and the FDA.
The Potential of Cultivated Meat
Promoted as “meat without slaughter,” Good Meat claims that its product offers a more humane alternative to traditional meat. Proponents believe that cultured meat could be pivotal in combating climate change. The aim is to minimise the reliance on conventional animal agriculture, which is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Earlier, Good Meat had announced a collaboration with celebrated chef and restaurateur José Andrés to feature their product in a restaurant in Washington, DC6.
Upside Foods, on the other hand, plans to debut its product at Bar Crenn, a San Francisco restaurant, as part of an initiative to garner feedback from chefs and diners.
Implications for Global Markets
In Asia, Singapore has been a frontrunner in adopting cultivated meat. In December 2020, it became the first country in the world to allow the sale of cultured meat. Eat Just’s Good Meat chicken bites were served at a local restaurant.
The developments in the US could spur other countries to follow suit. With growing concerns about sustainability and food security, cultivated meat could play a crucial role in meeting global protein demands.
Pioneering a Sustainable Future
“This announcement that we’re now able to produce and sell cultivated meat in the United States is a major moment for our company, the industry, and the food system,” said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Good Meat and Eat Just9.
Uma Valeti, Upside’s founder and CEO, echoed these sentiments, asserting that the approval is “a giant step forward towards a more sustainable future”
The advancements in cultivated meat production herald an era of transformative change in the food industry, as the quest for sustainability takes centre stage.
This historic approval could reshape the future of the meat industry and bolster efforts in sustainability and humane farming practices. As production ramps up, the acceptance and global impact of cultivated meat remain to be seen.
- Ranganathan, J., Vennard, D., Waite, R., Lipinski, B., Searchinger, T., & Dumas, P. (2016, April 20). Shifting Diets for a Sustainable Food Future: Creating a Sustainable Food Future, Installment Eleven. World Resources Institute. https://www.wri.org/research/shifting-diets-sustainable-food-future
- Singapore approves lab-grown “chicken” meat. (n.d.). BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55155741
- Douglas, L. (2023, June 14). Upside Foods secures USDA approval for its cultivated meat. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/business/upside-foods-says-receives-label-approval-usda-its-cultivated-meat-2023-06-14/