Upside Foods got USDA approval for labels, inspections and sales of its cultivated chicken product.
Cultivated meat is one step closer to the marketplace, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved chicken “grown” from animal cells to be sold in this country.
The GOOD Meat division of Eat Just, Inc. just got the green light for its first product to move ahead in the American market. The latest government action follows the previous USDA approval of GOOD Meat’s label and the issuance of a “no questions” letter by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“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. 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,” said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of the Alameda, Calif.-based GOOD Meat and Eat Just.
According to GOOD Meat, the company received a grant of inspection for its facility in Alameda. The plant can now be inspected by teams from U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), who will evaluate the site’s facilities, SOPs for sanitation and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) systems.
Following the approval, GOOD Meat’s line in Alameda got up and running to produce the first batch of cultivated chicken that will be sold to famed chef José Andrés. He will add cultivated chicken to one of his restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area.
Another cultivated chicken company, Upside Foods, also got full clearance by the USDA to move ahead with inspection and sales. The Emeryville, Calif.-based producer has been working on a product made from more than 99% chicken cells.
“This historic milestone is the culmination of years of dedication, ingenuity, and resilience from our team and supporters and marks the beginning of a whole new era in meat production. Most of all, it means that soon, Americans will be able to enjoy delicious meat that doesn’t involve the slaughter of billions of animals every year,” Upside shared in an announcement on its website.
As Upside works to scale its operation for production, the company is also working with a restaurateur for the first market launch, teaming with Bar Crenn of San Francisco.
The rollout of cell-grown, no-slaughter meat is expected to proceed at a slower pace in the grocery sector, given the cost of production and the limits of current production capabilities. There is also the issue of consumer acceptance: A recent poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that half of adults responded they are “unlikely” to eat meat made from animal cells.
That said, if barriers are overcome with exposure and trial, there is a growth path for these lab-grown products. A 2021 report from consulting firm McKinsey & Company projected that depending on factors including consumer acceptance and price, the market for cultivated meat could reach $25 billion by 2030.