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Sale of Lab-Grown Meat Now Legal in the United States

Delectable strips of lab-grown chicken from GOOD Meat, a pioneering producer of cultivated meat.
Delectable strips of lab-grown chicken from GOOD Meat, a pioneering producer of cultivated meat. Credit: Jpatokal / CC BY-SA 4.0

Lab-grown meat has been given the green light for sale in the United States. Two companies, Upside Foods, and Good Meat, have announced that they have received approval from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to produce their cell-based proteins, which they refer to as “cultivated chicken.”

Good Meat, a subsidiary of Eat Just, a plant-based egg substitute maker, has wasted no time and has already begun production. Cultivated meat is grown in large tanks, similar to those used in beer breweries.

Sale of cultivated meat in the US

The recent development builds upon previous approvals that have paved the way for the sale of cultivated meat in the US. Just last week, Good Meat and Upside Foods obtained USDA approval for their product labels.

In March, Good Meat received a letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stating that the product is deemed safe for sale in the US, and Upside Foods received a similar letter from the FDA in November. Both the USDA and the FDA are responsible for overseeing the emerging cultivated meat industry.

Concept of Meat without Slaughter by Good Meat Company

Good Meat, a company that has already been selling its products in Singapore, promotes its offerings as “meat without slaughter,” aiming for a more compassionate approach to consuming meat.

Supporters of this innovative concept believe that cultured meat can contribute to combating climate change by reducing the reliance on traditional animal farming, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

Previously, the company announced its partnership with renowned chef and restaurateur José Andrés to introduce its product in a restaurant located in Washington, DC. While they are collaborating with Andrés and his team to plan the launch, specific timing details have not yet been disclosed, according to a spokesperson from Good Meat.

As production scales up, the company is open to potential partnerships with other restaurants or exploring opportunities for retail distribution.

Issuance of grant of inspection

The recent regulatory milestone achieved on Wednesday is known as a “grant of inspection,” which is issued by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

The process of obtaining such a grant involves a thorough assessment of a company’s food safety system, ensuring rigorous standards are met, explained an FSIS spokesperson on Wednesday.

More about the company Upside

Uma Valeti, the founder and CEO of Upside, expressed great enthusiasm about the approval, describing it as a significant stride toward a more sustainable future. Valeti believes that this milestone will bring about fundamental changes in how meat reaches our tables.

Upside has set its sights on introducing its product at Bar Crenn, a restaurant located in San Francisco. However, an official launch date has not yet been disclosed. The company intends to leverage this opportunity to gather valuable insights from chefs and diners regarding their perceptions and experiences with the product.

Additionally, Upside has future plans to collaborate with other restaurants and make its products accessible in supermarkets.

At present, Upside is organizing a contest that allows inquisitive customers to be among the first individuals in the United States to sample their cultivated meat.

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