US Regulators Approve the FIRST ‘Lab-Grown’ Meat

US Regulators Approve the FIRST 'Lab-Grown' Meat

( – U.S. officials gave their initial approval to the sale of chicken derived from animal cells, enabling two California companies to supply “lab-grown” poultry to American restaurant menus and possibly grocery store shelves.

The Agriculture Department approved the sale of what is now known as “cell-cultivated” or “cultured” meat as it leaves the lab and makes its way to dinner plates by Upside Foods and Good Meat.

These companies had been competing to be the first in the U.S. to sell meat that doesn’t come from slaughtered animals.

The decision ushers in a new era of meat production that aims to end animal suffering and significantly reduce the environmental effects of grazing, growing animal feed, and animal waste.

Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just, which runs Good Meat, stated, “We can do it in a different way instead of all of that land and all of that water that’s used to feed all of these animals that are slaughtered.”

The businesses were given the go-ahead for the federal inspections necessary to sell meat and poultry in the United States. After the U.S. Food and Drug Administration determined that the products from both companies were safe to eat, the action was taken a few months later.

Joinn Biologics, a manufacturing business that collaborates with Good Meat, can also produce the goods.

In steel tanks, cells from a living animal, a fertilized egg, or a specific bank of stored cells are used to develop the meat for consumption.

In the case of Upside, it emerges in substantial sheets that are subsequently shaped into items like chicken cutlets and sausages.

Good Meat processes large quantities of chicken cells into cutlets, nuggets, shredded meat, and satays in Singapore, the first country to permit it.

However, don’t expect to find this unique meat soon in American grocery shops. According to Ricardo San Martin, director of the Alt:Meat Lab at the University of California Berkeley, chicken raised in captivity is far more expensive to purchase than meat from entire, farmed birds and cannot yet be produced on the same scale as traditional meat.

The businesses intend to launch the new food in high-end eateries first. Upside has teamed with Bar Crenn in San Francisco. Good Meat meals will be offered at a chef and restaurateur Jose Andrés restaurant in Washington, D.C.

The items are meat, not meat alternatives like the Impossible Burger or offerings from Beyond Meat, which are produced from plant proteins and other components, company officials are careful to point out.

More than 150 businesses worldwide concentrate on meat made from cells, including chicken, swine, lamb, fish, and beef, which scientists claim has the most significant environmental impact.

Upside, a Berkeley-based company, runs a 70,000-square-foot facility in the nearby city of Emeryville. On a recent Tuesday, guests entered a pristine commercial kitchen where chef Jess Weaver was sautéing a chicken filet with tomatoes, capers, and green onions in a white wine butter sauce.

The completed product was paler than the chicken breast found in supermarkets. It appeared cooked, stank like other pan-fried poultry, and tasted the same.

“The most typical comment,” according to Amy Chen, chief operating officer of Upside, is “Oh, it tastes like chicken.”

At the 100,000-square-foot facility run by Alameda-based Good Meat, chef Zach Tyndall served a smoked chicken salad on a warm June afternoon.

He next offered a chicken “thigh” that was actually a potato puree with tiny purple cauliflower florets and a mushroom-vegetable demi-glace on top. The chicken from Good Meat will be pre-cooked and only need to be heated to use in various ways.

Chen acknowledged that eating chicken created from cells makes many people wary or even queasy.

We refer to it as the “ick factor,” she remarked.

A recent poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research confirmed the sentiment. One-half of American respondents said they were unlikely to test meat produced using animal cells.

Most of those who indicated they were reluctant to try it cited “it just sounds weird” as their primary reason when given a list of possible justifications. A majority of people believed it wouldn’t be safe.

However, Chen claimed that after people learn how meat is produced, they become more accepting. After tasting it, they are typically sold, too.

She remarked, “It’s the meat you’ve always known and loved.”

“Meat is grown beginning with the cells.” According to Chen, “Upside specialists extract cells from live animals and select the ones most likely to taste well, multiply quickly, and reliably, resulting in high-quality meat.”

Products made by Good Meat are produced using a master cell bank developed using a commercially accessible chicken cell line.

After the cell lines have been chosen, they are blended with a broth-like solution that contains the vitamins, salts, carbohydrates, fatty acids, amino acids, and other nutrients cells require to develop.

The cells develop and multiply swiftly inside the tanks called cultivators. Connective tissue and muscle cells congregate at the Upside to create broadsheets.

The sheets of chicken cells are taken out of the tanks after about three weeks and fashioned into cutlets, sausages, or other delicacies. Large quantities of Good Meat cells are then formed into various meat products.

Both businesses made clear that the initial production would be constrained. The Emeryville facility has a maximum annual production capacity of 50,000 pounds of cultured meat products.

Still, Upside officials said the ultimate goal is to increase that to 400,000 pounds. Officials from Good Meat wouldn’t speculate on a production target.

In contrast, the United States generates around 50 billion pounds of chicken annually.

According to Sebastian Bohn, who specializes in cell-based foods at CRB, a Missouri company that designs and constructs facilities for pharmaceutical, biotech, and food companies, said it could take a few years for customers to see the items in more restaurants and seven to ten years for them to reach a larger market.

The cost will still be another issue. Officials from Upside and Good Meat refused to disclose the price of a single chicken cutlet, only stating that it has dropped dramatically since the companies started providing demos.

The pricing is anticipated to eventually match premium organic chicken, which may cost up to $20 per pound.

San Martin expressed concern that cultured meat would end up being a rich people’s alternative to traditional meat. Still, it won’t have much environmental impact if it stays a niche product.

He stated, “It’s good if some high-end or wealthy people want to eat this instead of a chicken.” Will that imply that you will serve chicken to the underprivileged? Sincerely, I fail to see it.”

Tetrick asserted that he concurs with opponents’ worries over the difficulties of creating an inexpensive, new beef product for the global market.

But he emphasized that traditional meat production is so damaging to the planet that it requires an alternative — preferably one that doesn’t require giving up meat altogether.

Tetrick grew up eating chicken wings and barbeque in Alabama and declared, “I miss meat.”

He added, “There should be a different way that people can enjoy chicken, beef, and pork with their families.”

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