Californian cultivated meat company Upside Foods has become the first to receive a ‘No Questions’ letter from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The letter signals that the FDA has accepted Upside’s evidence that its cultivated chicken is safe for human consumption – an important step on the road to full commercialisation of the product.
Obtaining this document means the FDA has rigorously reviewed the data provided by Upside, and has no contest to it. However, this is not the last hurdle, as cultivated meat in the US is regulated not solely by the FDA, but also the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Now Upside has reached this first milestone, it will work with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to secure the remaining approvals required before its cultivated chicken can actually be sold to consumers.
Upside Foods Founder and CEO Dr Uma Valeti has hailed the decision as a “watershed moment in the history of food”.
Singapore is currently the only country in the world to have officially greenlit the sale of cultivated meat – and so far this regulatory approval is only for fellow Californian start-up Eat Just’s cultured chicken bites. It was announced earlier this year that Meatable will become the country’s first cultured pork producer, with a goal of getting products to market by 2025.
Dr Valeti added: “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.”
Also commenting on the news, Upside’s VP of Global Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, Dr Eric Schulze, said ensuring the safety and quality of cultured chicken has always been a top priority for the company.
He revealed Upside Foods played “a leading role” in helping to champion the framework for how cultivated meat products will be regulated in the US, suggesting more regulatory approvals could be on the horizon.
Seth Roberts, Policy Manager the Good Food Institute Europe, said: “This milestone announcement sends a strong message around the world that cultivated meat will be part of a more sustainable food future.
“Cultivated meat has the potential to help satisfy growing global demand for meat, while reducing the environmental impacts of our food system.
“As COP27 draws to a close, ministers should be investing in climate solutions like cultivated meat – just as they’ve supported renewable energy – to ensure the benefits are felt here in the UK.”