For the first time in the United States, FDA has given the green light to cultivated meat. Berkeley, Calif.-based Upside Foods has received the agency’s go-ahead for its lab-grown chicken.
FDA evaluated the information submitted by the firm as part of a pre-market consultation for their food made from cultured chicken cells and has no further questions at this time about the firm’s safety conclusion, according to a November 16 statement from the agency.
While this is a major milestone for cultivated meat, before this food can enter the market, the facility in which it is made also needs to meet applicable USDA and FDA requirements. In addition to FDA’s requirements, which includes facility registration for the cell culture portion, the manufacturing establishment needs a grant of inspection from USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) for the harvest and post-harvest portions, and the product itself requires a USDA mark of inspection.
Oversight and regulation of animal cell culture technology is conducted collaboratively between FDA and USDA. Under a March 2019 agreement, both agencies agreed to a joint regulatory framework wherein FDA oversees cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation. A transition from the FDA to USDA-FSIS oversight will take place during the cell harvest stage. USDA-FSIS will oversee the post-harvest processing and labeling of human food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry. This closely coordinated regulatory approach will ensure that cell-cultured products derived from the cell lines of livestock and poultry meet federal regulations and are accurately labeled.
Advancements in cell culture technology are enabling food developers to use animal cells obtained from livestock, poultry, and seafood in the production of food, with these products expected to be ready for the U.S. market in the near future, FDA says, adding that the agency’s goal is to support innovation in food technologies while maintaining the safety of the foods available to U.S. consumers.