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California startup Upside Foods just cleared a major hurdle to bring its lab-grown chicken to a sandwich near you. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a press release issued Wednesday that the agency had completed its “first premarket review of a human food made from cultured animal cells.”
The FDA cleared Upside to continue creating meat products using its animal cell culture technology. Although the company still needs approval to sell its lab-grown chicken (or seafood or meat), the FDA has concluded by looking at how Upside produces its meat that is safe for consumption. The agency does not question its safety.
This is an important step forward for producers of cultured meat from cultured cells. Upside Foods founder Uma Valeti said in a statement that the company “has made history … as the first company to receive a ‘Do Not Ask’ letter from the FDA for cultured meat.”
“This milestone marks an important step toward a new era in meat production,” Valeti said, “and I’m thrilled that American consumers will soon have the opportunity to eat delicious meat that has been grown directly from of animal cells”.
Upside Foods still has another major milestone to clear, however, to receive permission to sell its product. In addition to FDA approval, the company also needs approval from the Food Safety and Inspection Service, part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).