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Agri food tech

The US says yes: United States approve the sale of Upside Foods and GOOD Meat’s cultivated meat

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3 min read
AUTHOR: Stef Bottinelli
plate of cultivated chicken

The US has approved the sale and human consumption of cultivated meat, becoming the second country in the world to allow the commercialisation and consumption of the novel food. The move is a landmark for cellular agriculture and could see other countries following suit and approving lab-grown meat.

On 8 and 12 June, the USDA gave label approval to GOOD Meat and Upside Foods respectively. Both start-ups were awaiting a Grant of Inspection of their facilities before receiving the green light to go to market with their cultivated chicken.

“This announcement that we’re 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.” said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of GOOD Meat and Eat Just. “We have been the only company selling cultivated meat anywhere in the world since we launched in Singapore in 2020, and now it’s 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.”

GOOD Meat received the approval once the USDA inspected its plant in Alameda, California, and immediately started production of its first cultivated chicken for sale. The start-up has partnered with chef and restaurateur José Andrés, owner of the José Andrés Group, which operates more than 30 restaurants across the United States, to sell its first products in his eateries. One of his yet-to-be-disclosed restaurant in Washington D.C. will be the first in the country to serve GOOD Meat’s cultivated chicken.

Upside Foods’ cultivated chicken will be on the menu at San Francisco restaurant Bar Crenn, owned by three-Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn. CEO and founder, Uma Valeti posted the news on LinkedIn, saying: “In 2015, we set out to revolutionize meat production in pursuit of a more sustainable, humane, and abundant future. Today, we’re proud to share that UPSIDE Foods is approved to sell cultivated meat in the US.

“This historic achievement is the culmination of years of unwavering dedication, innovation, and resilience from the entire UPSIDE Foods team. It confirms that our needs and our desires do not have to be mutually exclusive. We can create a more sustainable future for meat production without reducing access to the delicious foods we love. It’s a testament to the worthiness of challenging the status quo in favor of solutions that are better for the environment, animal welfare, and public health alike.

Ultimately, it’s a reminder that we should dare to think big, and not be afraid to double down in the face of skepticism and difficult, meaty challenges.”

Bruce Friedrich, President of The Good Food Institute, a proponent of alternative proteins, said: “Today’s historic announcement — two American companies earning regulatory approval to bring cultivated meat to US consumers — marks a pivotal moment in food and agriculture. Consumers are now one giant step closer to enjoying the meat they love without compromise.

“Global demand for meat is projected to double by 2050. Breakthroughs like cultivated meat enable the world to diversify protein production while slashing emissions, increasing food security, reducing risks to public health, and freeing up lands and waters for restoration and recovery. Given the stakes, a transition toward cultivated meat and other alternative proteins is as essential as the global transition to renewable energy. And just like renewable energy, massive public investment is key to ensuring these new sustainable foods can scale, create future-focused jobs, and benefit everyone.”

Up till now Singapore was the only country in the world to allow the sale and consumption of cultivated meat. In 2020 it granted approval to GOOD Meat’s cultured chicken, sold in restaurant 1880 and Huber’s Butchery.


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