Photo Credit: Upside Foods x GGD News
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has officially approved lab-grown or “cell-cultivated” meat as safe. UPSIDE Foods and GOOD Meat (a division of Eat Just) are the first two companies in the U.S. that have been given the green light to sell cultivated meat. The United States is now the second country in the world (following Singapore) to allow the sale of lab-grown meat for human consumption. Before supplying grocery aisles, both UPSIDE Foods and GOOD Meat plan to first make their products available to high-end restaurants. Towards the end of summer, lab-grown chicken by UPSIDE Foods will be supplied to Bar Crenn, a restaurant in San Francisco owned by Dominique Crenn—the only female chef in the U.S awarded three Michelin stars. Alternatively, GOOD Meat will supply their cell-cultivated chicken to the José Andrés Group; owners of Jaleo, Zaytinya, Oyamel and other iconic, high-profile restaurants.
Photo Credit: The Food Institute
Lab-grown or cell-cultivated meat is made by taking cells from live animal tissue. After collection, the sample cells are placed in bioreactors. These large vessels hold and grow the animal cells; once fully prepared and multiplied, the cells are processed into meat. The cultivated meat industry is obviously relatively new, filled with companies who all seem to have one ultimate goal: to supply the global demand for meat without hurting livestock or the environment. The expansion of “slaughterless” meat could help improve climate change and reduce the over 70 billion land animals required to supply the world’s meat market. According to the UN, animal agriculture causes about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
It also makes economic sense to invest in cultivated meat start-ups. The sector has raised more than $2 billion. The world’s population is expected to hit almost 10 billion by 2050. Even with the popularity of plant-based diets and foods, traditional livestock methods will not be able to meet future demands of carnivores without biotechnology; the same goes for seafood.
Key investors in UPSIDE Foods include Bill Gates, Tyson Foods, Cargill, Abu Dhabi Growth Fund, and more. The USDA itself awarded $10 billion to establish the National Institute for Cellular Agriculture at Tufts University.
When selling their products, both UPSIDE Foods and GOOD Meat are approved to distribute with a “cell-cultivated chicken” label. UPSIDE Foods aims to supply grocery stores by 2028.