GOOD Meat, the cultivated meat division of San Francisco-based food tech company Eat Just, Inc., received a “no questions” letter from FDA on March 20 that declared the company’s cultivated chicken product safe to eat.
FDA noted that the safety and quality validations submitted to them by GOOD Meat demonstrated that harvested cultivated chicken met poultry microbiological and purity standards, with microbiological levels significantly lower than in conventional chicken. Additionally, a product analysis revealed that the company’s cultivated chicken contains a high protein content and a well-balanced amino acid profile and is a rich source of minerals.
The letter follows a November 2022 FDA decision that allowed Berkeley, Calif.-based Upside Foods to proceed with its own lab-grown chicken, the first-ever go-ahead for cultivated meat in the U.S.
Two years ago, GOOD Meat received regulatory approval for its cultivated product in Singapore, but now is closer to having its product appear in U.S. restaurants and retail stores as well. The company is working closely with USDA on final approvals and is expected to be on the menu at a restaurant in Washington, D.C., later this year.
As of now, GOOD Meat is the lone cultivated meat producer in the world with the ability to sell to U.S. consumers. “Since Singapore approved GOOD Meat for sale, we knew this moment was next,” says Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of GOOD Meat and Eat Just. “I am so proud to bring this new way of making meat to my country.”
Some analysts forecast that cultivated meat could become a $25 billion global industry by 2030 as more companies get involved in developing product. “Consumers and future generations deserve the foods they love made more sustainably and in ways that benefit the public good—ways that preserve our land and water, that protect our climate and global health, ways that allow for food security,” says Bruce Friedrich, president of Good Food Institute, a think tank focused on alternative protein innovation. He adds that, with global demand for meat expected to increase significantly in the coming years, it makes sense for governments to prioritize alternative proteins as a solution.
Robert Rankin, executive director of the Association for Meat, Poultry and Seafood Innovation (AMPS Innovation), an alliance of food companies dedicated to developing products directly from animal cells, called the “no questions” letter a momentous milestone and validation for the cell-cultured/cultivated meat, poultry, and seafood industry. “GOOD Meat is among the visionary start-ups advancing the food sector with new methods of producing high-quality, safe products that will help to meet the growing demand for meat, poultry, and seafood through delicious, healthy, and sustainable food options,” he says. “AMPS Innovation members continue to work closely with government agencies to create a safe, robust, and transparent pathway to market for cell-cultured/cultivated meat.”