The United States had approved the first commercial production of meat from plants. A firm called Upside Foods will soon be permitted to sell chicken created from real animal cells grown in bioreactors instead of needing to slaughter live animals thanks to a ruling by the Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA’s approval has long been anticipated as the next significant step for the industry of cultured meat. Startups in the industry have established tiny production facilities and garnered billions of dollars in venture capital funding over the last five years, but they haven’t been able to market their goods to the general public.
The few individuals who have been permitted to sample grown meat up until now have been required to sign waivers admitting the experimental nature of the food.
Just two more minor regulatory measures need to be taken before consumers can purchase grown meat. The US Department of Agriculture still needs to provide approval for the inspection of Upside’s production facilities, and the food itself will need to have an inspection mark before it can be sold in the US. The FDA’s lengthy premarket consultation procedure, which led to the approval, is likely to be significantly shorter than these two procedures’ anticipated completion times.
A variety of cultured meats, including beef, chicken, salmon, and tuna, are the focus of various businesses. This statement only relates to Upside Foods and its cultured chicken, but it’s possible that further announcements will be made in the near future. The FDA receives information about food manufacturers’ manufacturing processes and the products they produce through this premarket consultation procedure, and after the FDA is satisfied that the process is secure, it provides a no further questions letter.
The FDA’s approval means that consumers may soon be able to sample grown meat products, however it’s probable that sampling will only be accessible at a very small number of upscale restaurants. The developed chicken from Upside Foods will be available at Dominique Crenn’s Michelin-starred restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco.
Since it contains actual animal cells and is theoretically identical to actual meat itself, farmed meat differs from plant-based meats. An animal’s cells are first isolated, grown into cell lines, and then frozen. These cell lines’ small samples can then be moved into bioreactors, which are typically big steel tanks where the cells are fed growth media containing the nutrients they require to divide. The cells can be extracted and employed in cultured meat products once they have developed and differentiated into the appropriate form of tissue.
However, using this method to produce cells is still quite expensive. Startups closely guard the details of their cell-growing costs, but it’s likely that pure produced meat will still cost several times as much as traditional beef. According to certain forecasts for future facilities, even huge facilities may produce meat for $17 per pound, which would result in significantly higher costs at restaurants and supermarkets. The first cultured meat products that are made available to the general public are probably going to be a combination of meat made from plant and animal cells because of the price premium.