The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved the first meat grown in laboratories from two cultivated meat companies, Upside Foods and Good Meat.
Both companies are now allowed to label products as ‘cell-cultivated chicken’ and sell them to restaurants. There are still a few additional steps before they can be placed on shop shelves across the USA.
This final step means that both the FDA (Food & Drug Administartion) and USDA have declared the products safe to eat and produce in the United States.
Cultivated meat, or lab-grown meat, refers to proteins made from animal cells and does not require the slaughter of any animal.
70 billion land animals are killed for human consumption each year. A majority of these animals are raised in factory farms, where they experience brutal forms of abuse in severely overcrowded conditions for the entirety of their short lives.
An Upside Foods spokesperson said ‘Cultivated meat has never been closer to the US market than it is today.’
The spokesperson added that in addition to eliminating ‘the need to raise and slaughter billions of animals,’ cultivated meat is projected to use substantially less water and land than farmed meat, and producing meat in a controlled environment may reduce the risk of harmful bacterial contamination.
Growing cultivated meat with renewable energy could result in a 92 per cent reduction in emissions and a 90 per cent decrease in land use compared to beef from cattle, The Good Food Institute reported.
The Cultivated Meat Process
In its ruling the USDA outlined the process where sample cells are collected from live animals or fish without harming or killing them.
In the next step, the cells are put in a controlled environment with nutrients to promote cell growth.
By the third phase, the cells have multiplied into the billions or trillions. From there, more nutrients and other factors are added to encourage different growth types, so the cells become like fat, muscle and other animal parts.
Finally, the cells are harvested and processed into the cultivated meat products.
‘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,’ Bruce Friedrich, president of The Good Food Institute.
‘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.’
Globally, more than 150 companies are focusing on meat from cells, not only chicken but pork, lamb, fish and beef, which scientists say have the biggest impact on the environment.
In another milestone move, seafood company John West has launched its first ever vegan tuna, which will shortly be on sale in the Netherlands. The plant-based tuna is made from soy and wheat protein, and comes in two flavours – Vegan Fish-Free Tuna with a Dash of Oil and Vegan Fish-Free Tuna with Tomato & Basil.