USDA approves lab-grown chicken

USDA approves lab-grown chicken
Jun 28, 2023

Products from Good Meat and UPSIDE Foods will be available to consumers

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Two California companies, UPSIDE Foods and Good Meat, received permission from the United States Department of Agriculture to sell lab-grown chicken to U.S. consumers.

Lab-grown, or cultivated chicken, sees the companies collect chicken cells and provide the cells with what they need to grow.

“In a nutshell: we take a sample of cells, place them in a vessel called a cultivator, and feed them the right blend of nutrients to multiply and grow,” UPSIDE says on its website. “After two to three weeks, the meat is harvested, formulated, and ready to enjoy.”

UPSIDE estimates it can produce up to 50,000 pounds of its products per year at its facility in San Francisco.

UPSIDE received approval from the FDA in November 2022, and label approval from the USDA earlier this June before getting the USDA’s Grant of Inspection.

The company says its process is similar to brewing beer, that its products are not a meat alternative, and will have the same USDA seal consumers see on traditional meat products.

It’s unclear when UPSIDE or Good Meat’s products will arrive on store shelves or in restaurants.

But Amy Chen, COO of UPSIDE Foods, gave a glimpse of where prices might be.

“So at a restaurant, think about an organic or a free-range chicken,” she told Yahoo Finance. We’ll be in the range of what you would expect to pay for an entrée at the restaurants we launch.”

Not everyone is on board with the idea of lab-grown meat.

Chef Andrew Gruel, a California-based chef and Food Network personality, is one of those who oppose the idea.

“Lab Grown meat is a danger to both our food system and our economy,” he said in a June 21 Twitter post. “The energy required for production is outrageous – it can only survive on government subsidies. It’s full of additives and doesn’t mimic the healthful qualities of meat at all. Scary stuff.” has reached out to the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association for comment.

Other jurisdictions are taking action related to lab-grown meat.

In the UK, for example, the Royal Agricultural University is conducting a study to understand how these kinds of products will affect the ag sector, and wants farmers to participate.

In May, Italy’s government banned cultivated meat “to protect the interests that are linked to health and cultural heritage,” the government said in a press release.

Singapore is the only other country to allow the sale of lab-grown meat.

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