FDA Declares Lab-Grown Chicken Safe for Human Consumption

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved lab-grown meat for human consumption, marking the first step in green-lighting the product for eventual distribution to American households.

The FDA on Wednesday said it didn’t find any safety concerns with a cultivated chicken product manufactured by Upside Foods, albeit stressing that the approval doesn’t mean the lab-grown meat is ready to be sold to consumers on the open market. The “chicken” product, which doesn’t have a name yet, is created via “animal cell culture technology” that grows living cells from chickens in a controlled environment. The FDA described the finished concoction as “a coherent tissue of chicken (Gallus gallus) cells, similar in composition and nutritional characteristics to conventional poultry products.”

If that doesn’t sound off-putting enough, the origin ingredients of the so-called chicken product includes “materials of bovine or porcine origin… in addition to cell culture media, media components, and antibiotics and antimycotics,” the FDA wrote in a series of documents. Upside Foods, for its part, insists its cow components are derived from disease-free and risk-negligible herds, while its pork products receive testing for “porcine viruses that could survive in human cells.” 

Upside Foods makes mention of possible “unintended effects of genetic engineering,” in addition to potential contamination with zoonotic viruses and harmful microorganisms during the manufacturing process. Nonetheless, the company claims its lab-engineered product is “as safe as conventional poultry meat from chicken carcass.” The cultivated chicken still has to receive approval from the US Department of Agriculture and the Food Safety and Inspection Service before it can be sold in US markets.

The company has a production facility in California which it opened in 2021, receiving a colossal amount of funding from the major billionaires including Bill Gates, Virgin founder Richard Branson, and even Kimbal Musk, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s brother. Upside Foods previously said its plant is capable of manufacturing 50,000 pounds of lab-grown chicken per year once it receives approval from regulators.

Information for this briefing was found via the FDA and Upside Foods. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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