Breaking: Upside Foods, Eat Just Earn First USDA Approval To Sell Cultivated Meat in The U.S.: ‘A Giant Step Forward’
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Leading cultivated meat manufacturers, Eat Just and Upside Foods, have completed the pre-market regulatory review process for cultivated chicken, becoming the first U.S. companies to earn the clearance for sale.
The USDA has granted Upside Foods and Eat Just’s Good Meat divisions a Grant of Inspection (GOI), allowing the companies to proceed with the commercial production and sales of cultivated chicken. This latest achievement follows the recent USDA label approvals for both Upside and Good Meat. To date, only Singapore has approved the sale and consumption of cultivated meat; it approved Eat Just’s Good Meat chicken in 2020.
‘A giant step forward’
“I’m thrilled to share that cultivated meat will now be available for consumers in the U.S.,” Dr. Uma Valeti, CEO and Founder of Upside Foods said in a statement. Upside Foods has raised more than $600 million in funding from investors, including Bill Gates, Cargill, Tyson Foods, and Richard Branson.
“This approval will fundamentally change how meat makes it to our table. It’s a giant step forward towards a more sustainable future – one that preserves choice and life. We are excited to launch with our signature, whole-textured UPSIDE chicken and can’t wait for consumers to taste the future,” Valeti said.
Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Good Meat and Eat Just called the approval a “major moment for our company, the industry and the food system.”
“We have been the only company selling cultivated meat anywhere in the world since we launched in Singapore in 2020, and now it’s approved to sell to consumers in the world’s largest economy. We appreciate the rigor and thoughtfulness that both the FDA and USDA have applied during this historic two-agency regulatory process,” Tetrick said.
Dan Glickman, Good Meat Advisory Board member; former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and member of the U.S. House of Representatives, commended the USDA’s leadership for working with the FDA to make this milestone happen.
“Today’s approval demonstrates that the United States is a global leader in the promising alternative protein space while also continuing to support family farmers’ efforts to feed the world through conventional food and agriculture techniques,” Glickman said.
“We at Upside Foods have long championed the dual regulatory jurisdiction of FDA and USDA, starting with a historic partnership with the North American Meat Institute in 2018. Since then, our team has been working diligently with both agencies to bring our cultivated chicken to market,” said Eric Schulze, PhD, VP of Global and Scientific Affairs at Upside Foods.
“We are grateful for the FDA’s and USDA’s thoughtful and rigorous review processes, which have enabled us to start bringing safe, delicious, and high-quality cultivated meat products to market in the U.S.”
Bruce Friedrich, president of think tank The Good Food Institute (GFI), says the dual approval mark a “pivotal moment in our journey towards building a safer, more efficient food system.”
“American consumers are now closer than ever to eating the real meat they love, that uses far less land and water than conventionally produced meat,” Friedrich said. “By undergoing a comprehensive facility review process and meeting the highest regulatory standards, cultivated meat will provide consumers with a safe and trusted source of protein. As we navigate a future with increasing global demand for meat, it is crucial that governments worldwide prioritize cultivated meat as a solution that satisfies consumer preferences, supports climate goals, and ensures food security for generations to come.”
Mirte Gosker, Managing Director of GFI APAC says the news also strengthens Asia’s food security. “Today, our region gained a powerful new ally to help us meet this challenge,” Gosker said.
“By embracing cultivated meat, the U.S. joins an elite circle of forward-thinking nations leading the way on food innovation. Singapore’s close-knit, world-class R&D hub, coupled with America’s large-scale manufacturing capabilities and huge consumer market, creates a powerhouse combination greater than the sum of its parts.”
Where to try cultivated meat
Upside is currently filling its first commercial order for cultivated chicken at its Engineering, Production, and Innovation Center (EPIC) factory. The facility has the potential to produce 400,000 pounds of cultivated meat per year.
The final USDA label approval is being celebrated in partnership with Michelin-star chefs Dominique Crenn and José Andrés whose restaurant will be the first to offer U.S. consumers cultivated chicken.
Crenn will be sharing Upside at Bar Crenn in San Francisco; Upside is also offering consumers a chance to win a taste of its cultivated chicken via a social media campaign.
Andrés will share Eat Just’s Good Meat at a yet-to-be-disclosed restaurant in Washington, D.C.