USA – Upside Foods and Eat Just, one of the leading food biotechnology companies in the US, have obtained labelling approval from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that will allow the company’s chicken grown from cells in bio-reactors to label as ‘Cell-cultivated chicken’.
According to Upside Foods, the approval of the labels revealed that the two companies have demonstrated full compliance with pre-market labelling requirements as per the department responsible.
“The USDA’s approval of our label marks a major step forward towards our goal of creating a more humane and sustainable food system,” Upside Foods CEO and founder Uma Valeti said.
He added that the approval has brought the two companies a step closer to being able to sell and serve cultivated chicken in the United States.
On the other hand, Eat Just spokesperson Andrew Noyes USDA noted that the term ‘cultivated’ is mostly preferred by the department and also by most companies globally.
The USDA’s decision on Upside Foods’ and Eat Just’s labels seemed to be siding with the cultivated meat advocates, but this labelling decision is limited to these two specific products.
Meanwhile, USDA is currently planning to introduce a proposed rule on labeling these products by the end of 2023 according to its regulatory agenda for the second half of 2023.
Upside Foods’ chicken received a green light from FDA last year, and Eat Just received FDA approval in March.
Both companies still need to get grants of inspection from USDA at their manufacturing facilities to get complete approval in the U.S.
While this most recent approval from the USDA only applies to Upside Foods’ and Eat Just’s Good Meat cultivated chicken products that have already begun to move through the approval process, it’s the first time that the USDA has officially entered any statement on what to call meat made of cells grown in bioreactors.
Both companies have revealed current cooperation with the USDA to get full approval to sell their cultivated products.
USDA highlighted that the department will need to issue grants of inspection through which they verify that cultivated meat facilities and procedures meet their standards but have given no known timeline for this to occur.
However, things have shown to be processed quickly; Good Meat’s cell-based chicken was approved for sale in Singapore in 2020 and has since been available for purchase in restaurants in that country.
“We’ve been selling chicken without slaughter for over two years now in Singapore, and it’s pretty cool that we’ll be able to make it happen here at home in the United States,” Josh Tetrick, CEO of Good Meat and Eat Just, said in a statement.