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‘Watershed moment’ as cultivated chicken to be sold in the US for the first time

The FDA has approved a cultivated chicken product for human consumption, paving the way for lab-grown meat on the shelves.
The FDA has approved a cultivated chicken product for human consumption, paving the way for lab-grown meat on the shelves.   -   Copyright  Sam Moghadam Khamseh   -  
By Rebecca Ann Hughes

A meat product created in a lab has been approved for human consumption in the US.

Chicken grown from animal cells produced by the company UPSIDE Foods has been declared safe for humans to eat.

This is the first time the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared lab-grown meat for sale to consumers.

The cultivated meat company will now be able to put its products on the market.

Is lab-grown meat safe for humans?

UPSIDE Foods produces lab-grown meat, poultry and seafood products.

Its cultivated chicken is made by harvesting cells from live animals and using them to grow meat in stainless-steel tanks.

The FDA announced on Wednesday that UPSIDE Food’s chicken had been approved for human consumption. The company can now bring its product to the market following an inspection by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

"This is a watershed moment in the history of food."
Dr. Uma Valeti
CEO and Founder of UPSIDE Foods

"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.

"This is a watershed moment in the history of food," said Dr. Uma Valeti, CEO and Founder of UPSIDE Foods.

"We started UPSIDE amid a world full of skeptics, and today, we've made history again as the first company to receive a 'No Questions' letter from the FDA for cultivated meat.”

The green light currently only applies to UPSIDE products although the FDA has said they are prepared to look at other cultivated products from animal cells.

Is lab-grown meat better for the environment?

Interest in substitutes for farmed meat has risen as consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of livestock.

In addition to vegan and vegetarian alternatives, demand has increased for cultivated meat products.

“It's projected that cultivated meat production at scale will use less water and land than conventionally-produced meat,” UPSIDE Foods wrote in a statement.

Cultivated chicken was on the menu for attendees of the recent COP27 climate change conference in Egypt.

Currently, Singapore is the only other country in the world that permits the sale of cultivated meat.