Friday, November 18, 2022
|Photo by Focused on You, Unsplash|
Chicken meat created in a laboratory is pecking its way through approval hurdles. The Food and Drug Administration says it has completed a pre-market review of a California company’s product “and had no unresolved questions about its safety for humans to eat,” reports Kristina Peterson of The Wall Street Journal. “The lab-grown chicken from Upside Foods must still get approvals from the Agriculture Department, which oversees the meat industry, before it can be sold in the U.S.”
Bruce Friedrich, president of the Good Food Institute, a nonprofit think tank focused on expanding plant-based and cultivated meat, said, “Cultivated meat will soon be available to consumers in the U.S. who desire their favorite foods made more sustainably, with production requiring a fraction of the land and water of conventional meat when produced at scale.”
“The FDA’s statement is very significant and is a foundational step in the regulatory process,” the Alliance for Meat, Poultry and Seafood Innovation said. “We expect regulatory green lights for other meat, poultry and seafood companies in the future.”
Cultivated meat usually begins with copying stem cells taken from a live animal. Uma Valeti, chief executive of Upside Foods, described cultivated meat cells as “like a starter dough.” After being grown for about three weeks, cells are harvested and shaped into forms familiar to consumers, such as a chicken breast.
The approval comes at a time when “The livestock industry has come under increased environmental scrutiny, since cattle are a big source of methane, an especially potent greenhouse gas,” writes Peterson. “Proponents of the cultivated meat industry, who hope to overhaul a meat production system that relies on using much of the world’s cropland to feed animals, cheered the FDA action. . . . The industry still faces hurdles in scaling up production of lab grown meat and making it competitive in price compared with traditional meat.”