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  • Writer's picturePhoebe Fraser

Upside Foods receives USDA approval for cell-based chicken

Cell-based meat innovator Upside Foods has announced that it has obtained label approval for its cell-based chicken product from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Upside Foods cell-based chicken

Upside Foods is now working with USDA to obtain a Grant of Inspection (GOI) for its Engineering, Production and Innovation Center (EPIC) – the last item in the pre-market regulatory process before the company can commercially produce and sell its cell-based chicken in the US.

The company says that it has “demonstrated full compliance with all pre-market requirements for labelling” and can begin commercial production and sales “as soon as it obtains a GOI from USDA”.

Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of Upside Foods, said: "The USDA's approval of our label marks a major step forward towards our goal of creating a more humane and sustainable food system. We're excited to continue working with the USDA to achieve our next milestone: a GOI for our facility. Obtaining the USDA's GOI will clear the way for commercial production and sales and allow us to bring our delicious Upside chicken to consumers for the first time."

cell-based chicken

The Good Food Institute Europe (GFI Europe) has welcomed the news, which follows the FDA issuing a “no questions” letter to both companies as part of the pre-market review process for the company’s cultivated chicken.

Seth Roberts, policy manager at GFI, said: “These announcements demonstrate that the race to bring cultivated meat to our tables is gathering pace, with the US increasingly looking like the first country after Singapore in which consumers will have the option of eating this sustainable food”.

He continued: “Cultivated meat has the potential to help satisfy growing global demand for meat while reducing the environmental impacts of our food system. Governments across Europe now need to wake up to the significance of this food, invest in R&D and ensure the benefits are felt here so other parts of the world do not leave behind the continent.”

Before a cell-based meat product can be sold in Europe, it must be approved by regulators in a process governed by the Novel Foods Regulation. Once EU regulators approve a cell-based meat product, it can be sold across all 27 EU countries.

The approval process will include a thorough and evidence-based assessment of the safety and nutritional value of cell-based meat and is estimated to take at least 18 months. A similar regulatory process is carried out by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in the UK.


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