The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved the consumption and sale of lab-grown chicken in the United States. The USDA on Wednesday issued Upside Foods with a Grant of Inspection certificate to market cultured or lab-grown poultry to Americans.

US Govt Approves Lab-Grown Meat for Human Consumption

Upside Foods, formerly known as Memphis Meats, was granted the FDA’s No Questions letter to producing lab-cultured chicken – meaning they are safe to eat – in November 2022.

Upside Foods and Good Meat (which received the same FDA approval in March) are the only two American companies producing cell-cultured meat – with both located in California. Good Meat was the first company in the world to market lab-grown meat and its cell-cultured chicken started to be sold in Singapore in 2020.

Good Meat has a production lab in Singapore and plans to construct a massive plant in the United States where 30 million pounds of meat will be produced every year. Upside Foods plans to produce 50,000 pounds of meat every year and then scale up production to 400,000 pounds per year at its 53,000-square-foot facility in Emeryville, California, constructed in 2021.

Cultured or lab-grown meat is produced by extracting cells from the tissues of a chicken, cow, pig, fish, or any other animal that people desire to eat. The animal is not harmed or killed in any way, and the cell extraction is done in a safe and harmless way. The cells are then fed with oxygen, nutrients (salt, vitamins, sugars, water, and amino acids), and moisture to spur their growth in a stainless steel bioreactor.

After a few weeks, the grown meat is mature and harvested, refined, and shaped into the final meat that anyone can identify. Artificial fat can be added to the cultured meat and it can be molded to 3D printing or cooked by seasoning, breading, or frying for consumption. “At scale, it will be a more humane and future-friendly way to grow high-quality food for meat lovers everywhere,” Upside Foods said.

The first lab-grown burger in the world was sold for $330,000 in 2013. Upside Foods will launch its cultured chicken at a restaurant called Bar Crenn and owned by Chef Dominique Crenn in San Francisco. Good Meat also plans to launch its chicken product at a Washington DC restaurant owned by Chef Jose Andres. While skeptics have complained that cultured meat comes with high costs and biological limitations, tasters have confirmed that they taste just like real, farmed meat.