The US food safety government gave the first approval to a California-based lab-grown meat startup on Wednesday, but there are still more requirements to be met before the product can be sold to customers.
The US Food and Drug Administration stated that it conducted a “careful evaluation” of Upside Foods’ farm-raised chicken using information and data submitted by the company and found “no further questions at this time,” indicating that the company is approved.
“We started UPSIDE amid a world full of sceptics, and today, we’ve made history again as the first company to receive a ‘No Questions’ letter from the FDA for cultivated meat,” founder and CEO Uma Valeti said in a press release.
The FDA made it clear that the assessment was not “an approval process.”
Before selling its goods, Upside Foods must still submit to inspection by the US Department of Agriculture, for instance.
That said, this “is a watershed moment in the history of food,” Valeti said.
A number of startups are working to make so-called lab-grown meat, which would enable people to consume animal protein without causing any hardship to animals or affecting the environment through farming.
These goods are distinct from plant-based alternatives like soy burgers, which imitate the flavor and texture of meat but do not contain any animal protein.
In Singapore in 2020, the start-up Eat Just, a rival of Upside Foods, became the first to be granted permission to produce synthetic meat.
While it has been difficult and expensive to thrive in the general lab-meat industry, several businesses have turned their attention to pet food, whose customers are much less discriminating.
A Colorado startup called Bond Pet Foods uses microbial fermentation to produce animal protein for dog use.
To read our blog on “Lab-grown meat and insects are ‘good for the environment and health’,” click here.