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FDA says lab-grown meat is safe for human consumption


Uma Valeti, CEO and founder, UPSIDE Foods speaks at the 2021 Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, October 18, 2021.

David Swanson | Reuters

The Food and Drug Administration for the first time cleared a lab-grown meat product developed by a California start-up as safe for human consumption, marking a key milestone for cell-cultivated meats to eventually become available in U.S. supermarkets and restaurants.

The FDA cleared Upside Foods, formerly known as Memphis Meats, to use animal cell culture technology to take living cells from chickens and grow the cells in a controlled environment to produce cultured animal cell food.

The agency said it evaluated Upside Food’s production and cultured cell material and has “no further questions” about the safety of its cultivated chicken filet. The company will be able to bring its products to market once it’s been inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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

The global cultivated meat industry, which is backed by more than $2 billion in investments, would play a major role in making the food system more sustainable and mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from animal-based food production.

While the FDA’s safety sign-off only applies to Upside products, the agency said it’s ready to work with additional firms developing cultured animal cell food and production processes. The agency said it’s engaged in discussions with multiple firms about different types of products made from cultured animal cells, including those made from seafood cells.

“This is a watershed moment in the history of food,” Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of Upside Foods, said in a statement. “This milestone marks a major step towards a new era in meat production, and I’m thrilled that U.S. consumers will soon have the chance to eat delicious meat that’s grown directly from animal cells.”

Lab-grown meats could be coming to a grocer near you



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