Cultivated meat gets approval for sale in the US

The move is aimed at reducing animal slaughter and its environmental impact
Cultivated meat gets approval for sale in the US
Photo- GOOD Meat

The GOOD Meat and UPSIDE Foods, two companies, recently got approval from both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to sell cultivated or lab-grown meat in the United States. Their chicken has been declared safe to produce, sell, serve and eat in the United States. This marks the first-ever sale of cultured meat for the nation. The approval has made the US the second country after Singapore to permit the sale of cultivated meat.

For GOOD Meat, the watershed moment for the burgeoning cultivated meat, poultry, and seafood sector, and for the global food industry, came on the heels of the USDA’s approval of GOOD Meat’s label – and four months after the company received its “no questions” letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The March milestone indicated the FDA accepted the company’s conclusion that its cultivated chicken is safe to eat and allowed the USDA to begin its part of the regulatory process outlined in a 2019 agreement between the agencies.

Immediately after receiving the grant of inspection, production started for the first batch of cultivated chicken that will be sold to celebrated restaurateur and humanitarian Chef José Andrés. Andrés, who is the owner of José Andrés Group, which operates more than 30 restaurants across the country.

“This announcement that we are 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. We have been the only company selling cultivated meat anywhere in the world since we launched in Singapore in 2020, and now it is approved to sell to consumers in the world's largest economy. We appreciate the rigor and thoughtfulness that both the FDA and USDA have applied during this historic two-agency regulatory process,” said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and chief executive officer, GOOD Meat and Eat Just.

Acknowledging a groundbreaking moment

Commenting on the achievement, Dan Glickman, GOOD Meat advisory board member, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, and member of the U.S. House of Representatives, said, “Serving as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture afforded me the opportunity to work with countless individuals at the USDA who were committed to accelerating agricultural innovation and economic opportunity as well as promoting initiatives to better nourish Americans and feed people around the globe. I commend the agency’s current leadership for working collaboratively with their FDA colleagues and the GOOD Meat team to reach this significant regulatory milestone.”

Bruce Friedrich, president, The Good Food Institute, lauded the company’s feat and said, “Today's groundbreaking announcement marks a pivotal moment in our journey towards building a safer, more efficient food system. GFI applauds U.S. regulatory agencies and GOOD Meat for their strong collaboration throughout this rigorous process. American consumers are now closer than ever to eating the real meat they love, which uses far less land and water than conventionally produced meat. By undergoing a comprehensive facility review process and meeting the highest regulatory standards, cultivated meat will provide consumers with a safe and trusted source of protein.”

Ensuring food safety

In the United States, under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), all meat and poultry sold commercially must pass inspection to ensure that it is safe, wholesome, and properly labeled. To accomplish this, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) places inspectors in slaughterhouses and processing plants. For the first time in history, it will assign inspectors to GOOD Meat and other cultivated meat and poultry facilities that follow.

As part of the USDA’s approval, GOOD Meat received a grant of inspection for its demonstration plant in Alameda, California, as has its contract manufacturing partner, JOINN Biologics. The comprehensive vetting includes facilities and equipment; standard operating procedures for sanitation; and the systematic approach to identification, evaluation, and control of food safety hazards known as HACCP.

To ensure the safety of its processes and products, UPSIDE Foods has implemented various practices and programs that comply with FDA and USDA guidelines, such as Current Good Manufacturing Practices, Ingredient, and Material Traceability, Validated Sanitation Processes, Hazard Analysis & Prevention Measures, Ingredient Review and Approval Process and Food Defense Program.

UPSIDE Food makes meat directly from real animal cells, without the need to raise and slaughter billions of animals. In order to be cleared to produce and sell cultivated meat, UPSIDE’s world-class team of food scientists, molecular biologists, and technical engineers passed three extensive regulatory steps: “No Questions” Letter from FDA in November 2022, USDA Label Approval and USDA Grant of Inspection (GOI) in June 2023. The company aims to achieve its goal of building a more humane, sustainable, and resilient food system.

GOOD Meat is the cultivated meat division of the food technology company Eat Just. Eat Just is a food technology company with a mission to build a healthier, safer, and more sustainable food system in our lifetimes. The company's expertise, from functionalizing plant proteins to culturing animal cells, is powered by a world-class team of scientists and chefs spanning more than a dozen research disciplines.

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