Two start-ups authorized to sell cell-cultured chicken by U.S. regulators

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved the sale of cell-cultured chicken, also known as lab-grown or cultivated meat, in the country. This decision paves the way for Good Meat, a subsidiary of Eat Just, and Upside Foods to sell their products to consumers. The startups had already received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which deemed their lab-grown chicken safe for human consumption. The meat will be labeled as "cell-cultivated chicken" when sold to consumers and produced in facilities that will be inspected by the USDA. Chef Jose Andres has placed the first order to sell Good Meat's cultured chicken in Washington, D.C., while Chef Dominique Crenn will serve Upside Foods' product in limited quantities at Bar Crenn in San Francisco.

Proponents of cultured meat argue that it is healthier and more environmentally friendly than traditional meat. Outside the U.S., only Singapore has cleared the sale of cell-cultured meat. Investors have been betting on the cultured meat industry, with Eat Just raising $978.5 million and Upside Foods raising $608.4 million, according to PitchBook data.

Despite cash and regulatory approval, cultured meat startups still face many hurdles before their products can become mainstream. Companies are grappling with how to create bioreactors large enough to achieve scale, while the expensive media that feeds cells keeps prices for the finished product high. Additionally, startups will need to convince consumers to eat meat grown in a lab, rather than on a farm. However, if these obstacles can be overcome, McKinsey predicts that cultured meat could provide as much as half of 1% of the world's meat supply by 2030, representing billions of pounds and $25 billion in sales.

In summary, the USDA's approval of cell-cultured chicken is a landmark decision that allows companies such as Good Meat and Upside Foods to sell their lab-grown products to U.S. consumers. While investors are bullish on the industry's prospects, startups still face challenges in scaling production and winning over consumers.


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