From cells to steak: FDA says meat grown in a LAB is safe to eat, paving the way for products

The Food and Drug Administration declared lab-grown meat products developed by a California company as being safe for human consumption, which paves the way for their debut in U.S. restaurants and grocery stores. 

The agency’s decision on Wednesday applies to cultivated chicken produced by Upside Foods but is likely to bring products from any of the dozens of firms pursuing lab-grown meat in America. 

The regulatory approval comes at a time of concern about the impact of agriculture on climate change, but also as consumers are largely abandoning their brief pandemic flirtation with plant-based alternatives to beef and chicken.  

The Food and Drug Administration declared lab-grown meat products developed by a California company as being safe for human consumption, which paves the way for their debut in U.S. restaurants and grocery stores

The Food and Drug Administration declared lab-grown meat products developed by a California company as being safe for human consumption, which paves the way for their debut in U.S. restaurants and grocery stores 

The agency's decision on Wednesday applies to cultivated chicken produced by Upside Foods but is likely to bring products from any of the dozens of firms pursuing lab-grown meat in America. Above: A look inside the Upside Foods laboratory

The agency’s decision on Wednesday applies to cultivated chicken produced by Upside Foods but is likely to bring products from any of the dozens of firms pursuing lab-grown meat in America. Above: A look inside the Upside Foods laboratory

Upside Foods, previously known as Memphis Meats, harvests cells from viable animal tissues and grows edible flesh under controlled conditions in bioreactors. The company says this product will be identical to chickens that are raised conventionally. 

‘The FDA’s pre-market consultation with the firm included an evaluation of the firm’s production process and the cultured cell material made by the production process, including the establishment of cell lines and cell banks, manufacturing controls, and all components and inputs,’ the regulatory agency said in a statement.

The agency also said it was already in touch with multiple firms about various other types of food produced from cultured cell lines inside a laboratory. 

Costa Yiannoulis, managing partner at Synthesis Capital, the world’s largest food technology fund, told the Washington Post: ‘We will see this as the day the food system really started changing. The U.S. is the first meaningful market that has approved this — this is seismic and groundbreaking.’

Yiannoulis also clarified to the newspaper that while his company’s technology is transferable to other animal species, each product will have to be separately approved by regulators. 

He estimated that upon Agriculture Department approval, it would still be months before its chicken could be on supermarket shelves. 

Advocates for alternative and plant-based meats believe this approval is a positive step, however it remains to be seen if consumers will widely adapt their behavior. 

'The FDA's pre-market consultation with the firm included an evaluation of the firm’s production process and the cultured cell material made by the production process, including the establishment of cell lines and cell banks, manufacturing controls, and all components and inputs,' the regulatory agency said in a statement

‘The FDA’s pre-market consultation with the firm included an evaluation of the firm’s production process and the cultured cell material made by the production process, including the establishment of cell lines and cell banks, manufacturing controls, and all components and inputs,’ the regulatory agency said in a statement 

Costa Yiannoulis, managing partner at Synthesis Capital, the world’s largest food technology fund, told the Washington Post: 'We will see this as the day the food system really started changing. The U.S. is the first meaningful market that has approved this — this is seismic and groundbreaking'

Costa Yiannoulis, managing partner at Synthesis Capital, the world’s largest food technology fund, told the Washington Post: ‘We will see this as the day the food system really started changing. The U.S. is the first meaningful market that has approved this — this is seismic and groundbreaking’

Two of the most well known plant-based meat companies, Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, are having challenging years – with the latter seeing its stock drop 75 percent and having to do layoffs after consumers returned to purchasing beef and chicken after Covid pandemic concerns went away.

‘The FDA is using the same regulatory review process as biotech crops, which has not resulted in widespread consumer confidence or universal marketplace acceptance,’ Gregory Jaffe, biotechnology project director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the Post. 

According to the USDA, each company that produces these products has to get approval from each agency, regardless of whether they follow the same production method as a firm that has received approval, the USDA said in a statement. 

'The FDA is using the same regulatory review process as biotech crops, which has not resulted in widespread consumer confidence or universal marketplace acceptance,' Gregory Jaffe, biotechnology project director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the Post

‘The FDA is using the same regulatory review process as biotech crops, which has not resulted in widespread consumer confidence or universal marketplace acceptance,’ Gregory Jaffe, biotechnology project director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the Post

Two of the most well known plant-based meat companies, Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, are having challenging years - with the latter seeing its stock drop 75 percent. Above: Another product from Upside Foods

Two of the most well known plant-based meat companies, Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, are having challenging years – with the latter seeing its stock drop 75 percent. Above: Another product from Upside Foods

source: dailymail.co.uk