Cellular Agriculture

Lab-grown meat cleared for human consumption by FDA

Products by UPSIDE Foods are approved to go to market pending inspection by USDA

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Reuters reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the first time cleared a lab-grown meat product, grown from animal cells for human consumption. UPSIDE Foods, a company that makes cell-cultured chicken by harvesting cells from live animals and using the cells to grow meat in stainless-steel tanks, will be able to bring its products to market once it has been inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), said a release from the FDA.

“The world is experiencing a food revolution and the (FDA) is committed to supporting innovation in the food supply,” said FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf and Susan Mayne, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in a statement.

Lab-grown meat cleared for human consumption by FDA as products by UPSIDE Foods are approved to go to market pending inspection by USDA

UPSIDE Foods is supported by investors, food industry leaders, and visionaries including SoftBank Group, Temasek, Norwest, and Threshold Ventures, Tyson Foods, Bill Gates, Sir Richard Branson, Kimbal Musk, and Whole Foods.

The company projects that cultivated lab-grown meat will use 77% less water and 62% less land than conventional meat. These numbers may improve over time. UPSIDE Foods is using 100% renewable energy at its production facility.

Lab-grown meat cleared for human consumption by FDA as products by UPSIDE Foods are approved to go to market pending inspection by USDA

The FDA said in documents released on Wednesday that it had reviewed data from the company and had no further questions about the company’s conclusion that its product is safe for humans to eat. “We are thrilled at FDA’s announcement,” said David Kay, UPSIDE’s director of communications, in an email. “This historic step paves the way for our path to market.”

USDA and FDA together regulate cell-cultured meat under a 2019 agreement between the two agencies. USDA will oversee the processing and labeling of cell-cultured meat products. Demand for alternatives to farmed meat has grown alongside awareness of the high greenhouse gas emissions of raising livestock. Cultivated chicken was served to attendees at this year’s COP27 climate conference in Egypt.

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