Updated: Aug 23
In a milestone step for the cultured meat industry, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved “GOOD Meat,” a lab-grown chicken product, as safe for human consumption.
GOOD Meat cultivated chicken was developed by the food technology company Eat Just, Inc. It is the company’s first poultry product.
How is Lab-Grown Meat Produced?
To develop GOOD Meat, Eat Just grows animal cells in a laboratory, producing meat biologically identical to conventional meat products and eliminating the need for animals to be slaughtered. FDA approval of GOOD Meat confirms that the agency finds it safe to eat. GOOD Meat also recently received approval from the Department of Agriculture for Eat Just to sell the product in the U.S.
According to FDA representatives, lab-grown meat products undergo rigorous testing and thorough evaluation to ensure that they can be consumed safely by humans and that their nutritional content is equivalent to conventionally sourced chicken meat.
In submitting GOOD Meat for evaluation by the FDA, Eat Just demonstrated that its cultivated chicken meets poultry microbiological and purity standards at levels significantly cleaner than conventional chicken. The analysis also found GOOD Meat chicken to be high in protein and rich in minerals, with a well-balanced amino acid profile.
Animal Activists Applaud Efforts by Cultured Meat Industry
Animal welfare and environmental groups have applauded the agency's approval of lab-grown products from Eat Just, Upside Foods, and other "clean meat" start-ups.
Animal rights activists view cultured meat as a more sustainable, humane way to offer meat products without killing animals and as a potential long-range solution for global food insecurity.
Environmental organizations are increasingly interested in how food practices — particularly food production chains and animal agriculture operations — negatively impact our planet. For example:
An estimated one-third of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by food systems.
Raising beef requires a lot of land and is a large generator of methane gas.
While poultry farms require less land and feed, they have been linked to local water pollution.
Concentrated feeding of animals has also been connected with the potential spread of disease between animals and people, according to a 2020 United Nations report.
Investors Keep an Eye on Cultured Meat Industry As Well
The approval of GOOD Meat by the FDA is expected to pave the way for further development and commercialization of cultured-meat products. Several other developers are working on cell-based meat products ─ for example, Upside Foods has been working with the FDA to approve its lab-grown chicken breasts and plans to develop cultured chicken, beef, pork, and seafood products.
To expand beyond limited and costly lab-scale operations, more efficient forms of automated bioprocessing will become necessary. Investors view clean meat as a high-growth-potential approach that will transform the food industry. Cultured-meat developers are attracting major venture capital firms, as well as tech entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson.
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