FDA gives green light to ‘cultivated chicken’
The cultivated meat, poultry and seafood company, Upside Foods is the first company in the world to receive a “No Questions” letter from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for cultivated meat, poultry, or seafood.
The letter signals that the FDA has accepted Upside’s conclusion that its cultivated chicken is safe to eat.
Barry Carpenter, former president and CEO of the North American Meat Institute, Upside Foods advisor said: “Demand for meat is skyrocketing, and we need every tool in our toolkit to feed the world. Cultivated meat, along with conventionally-produced meat, will play a crucial role in enabling our food system to get to this point. I congratulate Upside Foods on this historic milestone.”
“This is a watershed moment in the history of food,” said Dr. Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of Upside Foods. “We started Upside amid a world full of sceptics, and today, we’ve made history again as the first company to receive a ‘No Questions’ letter from the FDA for cultivated meat. This milestone marks a major step towards a new era in meat production, and I’m thrilled that US consumers will soon have the chance to eat delicious meat that’s grown directly from animal cells.”
The FDA released a memo detailing the agency’s review of the data and information provided by Upside Foods to establish the safety of its cultivated chicken filet. In addition, FDA released a comprehensive 104-page document, prepared by the company, that provides detailed information regarding the safety of and production process for UPSIDE’s cultivated chicken fillet.
Since its founding in 2015, Upside Foods has supported the development of a regulatory framework for cultivated meat that ensures safety and transparency. In 2018, it partnered with the North American Meat Institute to advocate for joint regulatory oversight of cultivated meat by the FDA and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The following year, it co-founded the world’s first trade coalition for cultivated meat, the Alliance of Meat, Poultry and Seafood Innovation (AMPS Innovation).
“Since our earliest days, our top priority has been to ensure the safety and quality of our products,” said Eric Schulze, PhD, VP of Regulatory and Public Policy at Upside Foods. “FDA sets the standard for global acceptance of new food innovations, and we are incredibly grateful for the agency’s rigorous and thoughtful process to ensure the safety of our food supply. We’re also extremely proud to have played a leading role in helping to champion the framework for how cultivated meat, poultry and seafood are regulated in the US.”
In the US, cultivated meat is regulated by both the FDA and the USDA. Having received a “No Questions” letter from the FDA, Upside Foods will now work with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to secure the remaining approvals that are required before the cultivated chicken can be sold to consumers.
Upside Foods grows meat, poultry and seafood directly from animal cells. These products are not vegan or vegetarian—they are meat, made without the need to raise and slaughter billions of animals. In addition, it’s projected, claimed Upside, that cultivated meat production at scale will use less water and land than conventionally produced meat. Because it’s made in a controlled environment subject to high standards of testing for safety and quality control, it has the potential to help reduce the risk of harmful bacterial contamination.
This announcement comes after a series of milestones as Upside Foods approaches commercialization, including a $400M Series C placing their valuation at over $1 billion, the acquisition of cultivated seafood company Cultured Decadence, a partnership with three-Michelin starred chef Dominique Crenn, and the opening of its Engineering, Production, and Innovation Center (EPIC), one of the world’s most advanced cultivated meat production facilities.
The Alliance for Meat, Poultry and Seafood Innovation said: “AMPS Innovation applauds the FDA’s announcement that it accepts Upside Foods’ conclusion that Upside Foods’ chicken is safe to eat. The FDA’s decision reflects a thoughtful, rigorous and science-based process that took place over the course of several years. During this time, Upside Foods provided the agency with the safety and supporting information that Upside used to determine its cultivated/cell-cultured chicken is safe and may proceed down the regulatory pathway. AMPS Innovation looks forward to continued progress by these and other companies to help expand safe and delicious food options for consumers and help support a more sustainable food supply.”