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Lab-Grown Meat Is Safe to Eat, According to the FDA

This marks the first time any lab-grown meat has been given the US agency's safety stamp of approval in a major win for the burgeoning industry.

lab grown meat in petri dishes
Upside Foods has received the first ever FDA safety stamp of approval for its lab-grown chicken.

Lab-grown meat has received the US Food and Drug Administration's safety stamp of approval for the first time; a major milestone for producers and advocates of cultured meat. The decision deems lab-grown chicken cultivated by Upside Foods safe to eat, although it's not yet approved for sale. The FDA on Wednesday announced that it has "evaluated the information submitted to the agency and has no further questions at this time about the firm's safety conclusion." 

Upside Foods uses animal cell culture technology to take living cells from chickens and grows those cells in a controlled environment to make cultured animal cell food instead of using traditional slaughterhouse practices. Despite a contingent of companies, including Mosa MeatMemphis MeatsAleph Farms and Meatable, that are working on the budding food technology, lab-grown meat in any form has not yet been available for sale or consumption in the US. 

Read more: We Can Add Convincing Lab-Grown Chicken to Our List of Climate Solutions

"Today we are one step closer to your dining tables as Upside Foods becomes the first company in the world to receive the USFDA greenlight -- that means the FDA has evaluated our production process and accepts our conclusion that our cultivated chicken is safe to eat," the company said Wednesday.

Animal rights advocacy group People for Ethical Treatment of Animals released a statement in support of the decision yesterday. "We're over the moon to see slaughterless meat becoming a reality," it said.

chicken in bowl of salad

Lab-grown chicken may very soon be available for sale and consumption.

Upside Foods

While the announcement means it is likely one step closer to landing in a grocery store near you, there are still key approvals needed before it does, most notably from the US Department of Agriculture.

"In addition to meeting the FDA's requirements, including facility registration for the cell culture portion of the process, the firm will need a grant of inspection from the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) for the manufacturing establishment," the FDA said.

The decision is a positive sign for the growing number of producers of lab-grown meat in the US. The FDA shared that it's ready to work with additional firms developing cultured animal cell food and production processes. Advocates and producers of lab-grown meat argue that it will eventually mean cleaner, drug-free and cruelty-free meat. Lab-grown meat has already been approved for sale and consumption in other countries, including Singapore.

Read more: Chicken Labels Are Confusing. Here's What They Do (and Don't) Mean

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.