USDA Approves First Cultivated Meat Product for Sale
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved the first cultivated meat for sale in the U.S. Two companies, Upside Foods and Good Meat, have passed regulatory tests and inspections. Both companies were approved to label the approved products as “cell-cultivated chicken.”
Cultivated meat, also called cultured or lab-grown meat, refers to proteins made from animal cells. The USDA describes the process in four steps. In step one, sample cells are collected from animals or fish. This process typically does not involve harming or killing the animals. In the next step, the cells are put in a controlled environment with nutrients to promote cell growth.
By the third phase, the cells have multiplied into the billions or trillions. From there, more nutrients and other factors are added to encourage different growth types, so the cells become like fat, muscle and other animal parts. Finally, the cells are harvested and processed into the cultivated meat products.
This process is designed to reduce animal slaughter and the amount of land and water use compared to raising conventional livestock. Growing cultivated meat with renewable energy could result in a 92% reduction in emissions and a 90% decrease in land use compared to conventional beef, The Good Food Institute reported.
“American consumers are now closer than ever to eating the real meat they love, that uses far less land and water than conventionally produced meat,” Bruce Friedrich, president of The Good Food Institute, said in a statement. “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.”
As VegNews reported, the cultivated meat products needed to obtain approval from the USDA as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Upside Foods’ cultivated meat earned a Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) letter from the FDA in November 2022, and Good Meat earned the GRAS designation in March 2023. The USDA released its approvals this week.
Good Meat, under the parent company Eat Just, Inc., was the first company to earn approval to sell cultivated meat. It earned the approval of the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) in 2020 to sell cultivated chicken in Singapore, as Good Food Institute reported.
“As we navigate a future with increasing global demand for meat, it is crucial that governments worldwide prioritize cultivated meat as a solution that satisfies consumer preferences, supports climate goals, and ensures food security for generations to come,” Friedrich said.