U.S. moves closer to green-lighting lab-grown chicken in stores

Cultivated chicken from Good Meat has been cleared by the FDA.
Good Meat

Lab grown chicken is a step closer to making it to a grocer near you.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent a “no questions” letter to Good Meat, a manufacturer of so-called “cultivated chicken,” the company says. That’s a crucial step along the road to consumer distribution and follows a similar letter to Upside Foods, another manufacturer of the meat, last November.

Before consumers can take a bite, though, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will need to sign off on the food as well. Good Meat says it is working with the agency on “necessary approvals.”

Cultivated meat is created from cells, rather than slaughtered animals, and proponents say it’s a more sustainable way of eating and safer, since it’s created in a cleaner environment and less prone to contamination from E. coli, salmonella, and other pathogens.

The lab-grown food is produced in a tank, and the production area could easily be mistaken for a brewery at first glance. Meat can be harvested from the cultivator in four to six weeks.

One of the meat’s supporters is chef and humanitarian José Andrés, who has vowed to offer Good Meat’s chicken to customers at his Washington, D.C. restaurant once it is approved.

“The future of our planet depends on how we feed ourselves…and we have a responsibility to look beyond the horizon for smarter, sustainable ways to eat,” said Andrés in a statement.

Singapore was the first nation to approve the sale of the meat, poultry and seafood clones just over two years ago.

Lab-grown meat won’t be a cheaper alternative upon release. Like plant-based meat alternatives, it will initially be sold at a premium, but prices are expected to fall as competition grows and efficiencies to the process are streamlined.

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