Are You Ready To Eat Lab-Grown Chicken? The FDA Says It’s Actually Safe


In case you’ve never heard of it, there is such a thing as “slaughter-free” chicken, and it’s actually meat that comes from actual animal cells but grown in a lab. And while this might sound incredibly extreme, it may soon end up on the shelves of the grocery store right in your neighborhood.

Just last November 16, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that ‘lab-grown poultry, which takes living cells from chickens and grows them in a controlled environment to produce the meat, was safe from human consumption.’ Moreover, they also explained that they had “no further questions” about the safety of lab-grown poultry either. In fact, this is actually the first “no further questions” release from the FDA about lab-grown meat, poultry or seafood.

While the premarket consultation is voluntary, it is also not an approval process either. However, it is one of the first steps in getting clearance for the companies hoping to sell such products. As for the United States, cultivated meat is regulated by the FDA as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

As explained in a statement by the California-based company that’s making the lab-grown meat, UPSIDE Foods, they are working side-by-side with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) in order to obtain the necessary required approvals before they can actually produce and package the cultivated chicken to sell to people.

Screenshot from Twitter

You May Just Get Some In Your Nearby Restaurants Before Buying It In Grocery Stores

While the approval of UPSIDE Foods may take months before they actually get it, you may just find that these meat products are served in restaurants or by certain chefs, should the company already partner with them ahead of selling their products in grocery stores.

For example, Michelin-star chef, Dominique Crenn, has already explained that she is looking to serve Upside Foods’ cultivated chicken at her Atelier Cream restaurant in San Francisco.

CEO and Founder of UPSIDE Foods, Uma Valeti, MD, said in a press release, “This is a watershed moment in the history of food. We started UPSIDE amid a world full of skeptics, and today, we’ve made history again as the first company to receive a ‘No Questions’ letter from the FDA for cultivated meat.”

Lab-Grown Meat Is Not a Meat Substitute

The FDA also released a memo explaining their review of the data and information they received from UPSIDE Foods so that they could backup their belief in the safety of the cultivated chicken filet. The FDA also released a 104-page document prepared by UPSIDE that gives exhaustive information about the production and safety processes used by the company to make their cultivated chicken filet.

Aside from poultry, UPSIDE Foods also grow meat and seafood directly from animal cells. The company also goes on to say that while these meats are lab-grown, it’s important to note that they are not vegan or vegetarian. They are, in fact, meat, created from animal cells without the need to breed, grow, raise, and slaughter billions of animals.

In addition, when the meat production is scaled, the company also predicts that they’ll be able to use less water and land than the way to conventionally grow and produce meat. Furthermore, since the meat is produced in a controlled environment that has very high standards when it comes to testing, safety and quality control, lessening the risk of possible contamination from bacterial contamination.

How Is Lab-Grown Meat Made?

As stated on the FAQs page of UPSIDE Foods, they wrote “Our first commercial products will be produced using cells from fertilized chicken eggs.”

The company also shares on their page that when it comes to feeding their cells, “UPSIDE Foods has developed a proprietary cell-culture medium, or cell feed, consisting of common compounds found in animal feed and human food, including amino acids, fatty acids, sugars, trace elements, salts, and vitamins. These ingredients allow us to nourish the cells with the same type of nutrients they would get inside an animal’s body. The main different between feeding a live animal versus feeding our cells is the size of the components.”

Given the fact that the science is relatively new, as is the whole idea behind lab-grown meat, it may take a while for the rest of the world to catch up. But the hope is that eventually, there will be a market and an acceptance for this type of meat across the globe.