WASHINGTON—The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it considered cultivated chicken made by Good Meat Inc. safe to eat, making it the second company in the growing industry to have cleared a key regulatory hurdle.
Good Meat, based in Alameda, Calif., is the cultivated-meat arm of food-technology company Eat Just Inc. It is now the only company selling its chicken to consumers—but that is just in Singapore, the only country so far to permit the sale to consumers of meat grown from cells, outside of an animal.
“We have no questions at this time regarding Good Meat’s conclusion that foods comprised of or containing cultured chicken cell material…are as safe as comparable foods produced by other methods,” the FDA said in a letter to the company posted Tuesday.
The FDA issued its first “no questions” letter to another California-based company, Upside Foods, indicating that it considered its chicken filet safe to eat. Both Upside and Good Meat will have to receive clearance from the U.S. Agriculture Department before selling their cultivated meat to consumers in the U.S.
If that approval is granted, Good Meat plans to work with celebrity chef and anti-hunger advocate José Andrés to start serving its cultivated chicken at one of his restaurants in Washington, D.C., the company said.
“Since Singapore approved GOOD Meat for sale, we knew this moment was next. I am so proud to bring this new way of making meat to my country and to do it with a hero of mine, Chef José Andrés,”
co-founder and chief executive of Good Meat and Eat Just, said in a press release.
Cultivated meat is grown from cells taken from an animal and encouraged to proliferate in vessels, where they are fed a mixture containing amino acids, sugars and other nutrients. The meat is later harvested and can be formed into various products, often in combination with other ingredients to help bind it together.
Supporters of the nascent industry, which includes more than 150 companies around the world, hope that it can replace at least a portion of animal agriculture, supplying protein without having to slaughter animals and with a smaller environmental impact.
To compete with conventional meat, cultivated-meat companies acknowledge their product will have to be priced comparably, which will only be possible when they have scaled up production and brought down its costs. Currently, Good Meat sells less than 5,000 pounds of cultivated meat a year in Singapore, Mr. Tetrick said in an interview.
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