The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a lab-grown meat product as safe for human consumption, making it the first product to receive an initial green light from a regulatory body.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Nov. 16, the FDA clarified that it found no safety issues in Upside Foods’ manufacturing process, while emphasizing that this does not mean the “farm chicken” product can be sold on the open market. just for now.
The FDA said the unnamed product, manufactured by Upside Foods, uses “animal cell culture technology to take live cells from chickens and grow the cells in a controlled environment to produce food from cultured animal cells.”
The end product was described in another report as “a cohesive chicken cell tissue similar in composition and nutritional properties to conventional poultry products.”
And while the final product should look like chicken, its source materials can include “substances of bovine or porcine origin … as well as cell culture media, media components, antibiotics, and antifungals,” according to FDA documents.
Upside Foods claims its beef material is sourced from healthy or unexposed herds, and its hog ingredients are tested for “porcine viruses that can live in human cells.”
The company recognizes the potential for “unintended consequences of genetic engineering” and possible contamination with micro-organisms or animal-based viruses as potential risks inherent in the manufacturing process, but reassures the FDA that it has procedures in place to test them. The company says its chicken is “as safe as regular poultry.”
world is experiencing a food revolution, and the FDA is committed to supporting innovation in food supply. Today we announce that we have completed our first before-market consultation of human food made from cultured animal cells. https://t.co/SgBaTcb7sRrice.twitter.com/l9nQBlu9ZD
— Dr. Robert M. Califf (@DrCaliff_FDA) November 16, 2022
And while lab-grown chicken must be approved by the USDA and the Food Safety and Inspection Service before it can be sold in the US market, CEO Uma Valetti called the FDA’s announcement her victory, releasing a statement calling it “a watershed in food history.
It is worth noting that the company was founded as Memphis Meats in 2015 and has attracted huge funding from billionaires such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson, as well as Kimbal Musk, brother of the richest man in the world, Elon Musk. Then last year it was renamed Upside.
It’s time to celebrate. Because the future of meat will never be the same! We have received a “No Questions Asked Letter” from the FDA, which means they have given our cultured meat a green status. light. 🐔 rice.twitter.com/hZ1dAmR4UP
— UPSIDE Foods (@upsidefoods) November 16, 2022
The company opened a production facility in California in 2021 and told media that once it receives regulatory approval, the plant will be able to produce 50,000 pounds of lab-grown chicken per year.
According to COO Amy Chen, Upside hopes to eventually process 400,000 pounds of chicken per year.