Lab-grown chicken is FDA approved for the first time, deemed safe to eat
The way you eat your chicken may not change, but how your chicken is produced may soon be unrecognizable.
For the first time, this week the US Food and Drug Administration judge that a lab-grown meat—Upside Foods farmed chicken—is safe to eat, called “cultured chicken cell material.” It unattractively describes the company’s harvesting of “multicellular tissue for human consumption” and cultured chicken cells as having “muscle and connective tissue characteristics”.
Meat, unlike meat from slaughtered animals, is cultured using animal cells and grown in a laboratory. There’s still a long way to go before you can buy it from your local grocery store, but Wednesday’s green light is an important regulatory step, and the implications of this technology are compelling.
From an environmental point of view, this process has several advantages. For example, less land is required than with traditional methods, which can reduce deforestation and biodiversity loss—considering all forest habitats Clearing the grazing land. And compared to the slaughterhouse, requires less water and is less polluted. That helps explain why Leonard DiCaprio, a major environmentalist in addition to being a Hollywood celebrity, invested in several farm-raised meat startups, among them Mosa Meat and Aleph Farms.
Of course, the idea of meat raised in large tanks is hardly appealing. But the process can produce cleaner, safer meats than rampant slaughterhouses, which are particularly susceptible to E. coli, salmonella and other pathogens.
Lab-grown meat could also tackle the growing threat of antibiotic resistance. The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is fueling many antibiotic-resistant infections in humans, leading to “longer hospital stays, higher medical costs, and higher mortality.” based on World Health Organization.
Currently, lab-grown meat is not cost-competitive with traditional breeds. On the other hand, this was originally true of plant-based meat alternatives, but today you can buy a pack of six Impossible burgers for under $13.49 at Target.
It may be ethical for some people to use fetal bovine serum—obtained by drawing blood from unborn calves of pregnant cows after slaughter—to make certain types of lab-grown meat . But some companies are try to stay away from that to animal-free alternatives.
Process management has a way to go. Upside foods still need to be cleared by the Food Safety and Inspection Service, part of the US Department of Agriculture.
But “this milestone marks an important step towards a new era in meat production,” Chief Executive Officer Uma Valeti said in a statement. “I am delighted that US consumers will soon have the opportunity to eat delicious meat grown directly from animal cells.”
If you can’t wait for the product to hit shelves in the US, head to Singapore, which already allows the sale of lab-grown meat. Last year, in the city-state, GOOD Meat, another farm-raised meat startup, said a Cantonese restaurant at the JW Marriott resort would start replacing the meat in traditional steamed chicken dumplings with farmed meat.
“Meat that doesn’t kill animals will replace conventional meat at some point in our lives. At the time, Josh Tetrick, CEO of parent company Good Meat Eat Just, said the faster we do that, the healthier our planet will be.
Other eateries and notable chefs since then have agreed to cook with lab-grown meat and in June, GOOD Meat overate largest meat production facility in Asia.
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