Farm Progress

Companies approved to sell lab-grown chicken in the U.S.

Upside Foods and Good Meat make history after achieving final regulatory approval step.

Krissa Welshans, Livestock Editor

June 22, 2023

3 Min Read
Cultivated chicken
Good Meat

Lab-grown meat producers Upside Foods and Good Meat, a subsidiary of Eat Just, made history this week when they achieved the last necessary step to sell their lab-grown, also known as “cultivated,” chicken products in the U.S.

As stipulated in a 2019 agreement between the agencies, the three-step approval process included first receiving a “no questions” letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and then both label approval and a Grant of Inspection from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the latter of which occurred this week.

Under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and Poultry Products Inspection Act, all meat and poultry sold commercially in the U.S. must pass inspection to ensure that it is safe, wholesome, and properly labeled. To accomplish this, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service places inspectors in slaughterhouses and processing plants. For the first time in history, inspectors will be assigned to facilities operated by Good Meat and Upside Foods.

Upon receiving the GOI, Upside processed the first order of its cultivated chicken, placed by three-Michelin-star Chef Dominique Crenn. Upside said its cultivated chicken will be launched in the U.S. in limited quantities through select restaurant partners, starting with Chef Crenn's restaurant Bar Crenn in San Francisco.

"We at Upside Foods have long championed the dual regulatory jurisdiction of FDA and USDA, starting with a historic partnership with the North American Meat Institute in 2018. Since then, our team has been working diligently with both agencies to bring our cultivated chicken to market," said Eric Schulze, PhD, vice president of global and scientific affairs at Upside. "We are grateful for the FDA's and USDA's thoughtful and rigorous review processes, which have enabled us to start bringing safe, delicious, and high-quality cultivated meat products to market in the U.S."

UPSIDE said it will continue its work with FDA and USDA to bring its next consumer products to market, including sausages, nuggets, and dumplings.

Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Good Meat and Eat Just, commented: “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. We appreciate the rigor and thoughtfulness that both the FDA and USDA have applied during this historic two-agency regulatory process.”

Immediately after receiving the GOI, Good meat also began production on the first batch of cultivated chicken that will be sold to celebrated restaurateur and humanitarian Chef José Andrés. Andrés, who is owner of José Andrés Group, which operates more than 30 restaurants across the country, previously shared that a yet-to-be-disclosed restaurant in Washington, D.C. would be the first in the country to serve Good Meat’s cultivated chicken.

Dan Glickman, Good Meat advisory board member and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, commended the USDA’s current leadership for working collaboratively with FDA colleagues and the Good Meat team to reach this significant regulatory milestone.

“Today’s approval demonstrates that the United States is a global leader in the promising alternative protein space while also continuing to support family farmers’ efforts to feed the world through conventional food and agriculture techniques,” he said.

About the Author(s)

Krissa Welshans

Livestock Editor

Krissa Welshans grew up on a crop farm and cow-calf operation in Marlette, Michigan. Welshans earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University and master’s degree in public policy from New England College. She and her husband Brock run a show cattle operation in Henrietta, Texas, where they reside with their son, Wynn.

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