The First Cultivated Meat Was Just Approved By The FDA

A major milestone is currently underway in the realm of cultivated meat. Food scientists have spent decades of research and development crafting new meat to tackle the increasing demand for this produce, reduce environmental degradation, and support animal welfare (via CNN). Now, one company is swiftly on its way to producing some of the country's first cultured protein. Following its first pre-market consultation, the FDA has evaluated the safety of cultivated chicken created by Upside Foods and confirmed that there are no further questions at this time.

"It's the moment we've been working toward for the past, almost seven years now. Opening up the U.S. market is what every company in the world is trying to do," shares Uma Valeti, Upside Foods' CEO (via Wired).

While man-made meats were first approved in Singapore back in 2020, Bloomberg reports that many similar startups focused on creating all sorts of cultured meats have been hoping for a similar fate. That said, Upside Foods is the first company in the U.S. that has made significant progress in the approval process. Delivering on texture, aroma, and mouthfeel, the nouveau chicken is sure to win over consumers, but what about the FDA?

Upside Foods' cultivated chicken is on its way to approval

Cultured meat is crafted by cultivating animal cells obtained from a live animal through a biopsy, via a piece of meat, or even a cell bank, notes CNBC. That said, in the case of Upside Foods, after samples are collected, they're fed a blend of micronutrients and placed in a bioreactor to form meat, which takes roughly three weeks. The meat is then ready to be inspected, packaged, and, finally, enjoyed. First, however, a few things need to happen before cultured meat ends up on our dinner plates.

The company's lab-grown chicken is on its way to approval, which means that there are still two regulatory steps that must be carried out. That said, the FDA shared that Upside Foods will need a grant of inspection for the manufacturing establishment and the chicken itself from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service before it can enter the U.S. market — but don't expect it on grocery store shelves just yet.

According to Wired, Upside Foods' chicken will initially be offered exclusively through restaurants, allowing chefs a chance to refine cooking methods and provide feedback to the company. Likewise, when it does hit meat counters, prices will likely come at a premium. Given the cost of production, The Counter estimates the meat will cost about $17 per pound but could creep to $40 at the grocery store or even $100 at a restaurant with markups.