It's official: UPSIDE Foods' cultivated chicken clears USDA Grant of Inspection and can now be sold in the USA
Following last week's announcement from UPSIDE Foods that it was granted US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Label Approval, the company has just revealed that it has cleared the third and final hurdle – namely the USDA Grant of Inspection (GOI) – meaning it can legally be sold to consumers in the USA. This is sensational news and even better it was also reported that Eat Just's GOOD Meat received its approval at the same time, so both companies crossed the finish line together.
"Today, we’re beyond thrilled to announce that we’ve made history again – UPSIDE Foods has now received approval from the USDA to produce and sell our cell-cultivated chicken in the USA!" a company statement read. "This historic milestone is the culmination of years of dedication, ingenuity, and resilience from our team and supporters and marks the beginning of a whole new era in meat production. Most of all, it means that soon, Americans will be able to enjoy delicious meat that doesn’t involve the slaughter of billions of animals every year."
"In 2015, we set out to revolutionize meat production in pursuit of a more sustainable, humane, and abundant future," said Uma Valeti, CEO & Co-founder. "Today's historic achievement is the culmination of years of unwavering dedication, innovation, and resilience from the entire UPSIDE Foods team. It confirms that our needs and our desires do not have to be mutually exclusive. We can create a more sustainable future for meat production without reducing access to the delicious foods we love. It’s a testament to the worthiness of challenging the status quo in favor of solutions that are better for the environment, animal welfare, and public health alike. Ultimately, it’s a reminder that we should dare to think big, and not be afraid to double down in the face of skepticism and difficult, meaty challenges."
UPSIDE was the first in the world to receive the US FDA green light (back in November 2022). With this latest news, the company has crossed another big milestone and has now received full regulatory approval from both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the USDA. "Securing green lights from both of these US regulatory bodies has always been a priority for UPSIDE," the statement continued. "Regulation of cultivated meat mirrors that of conventionally-produced meat. With conventional meat, the FDA oversees the safety of new ingredients used in meat and poultry products and regulates live animals to be used as food up until they are presented for slaughter. At the point of slaughter, the USDA takes over jurisdiction to oversee slaughter, meat processing, packaging, and labeling.
"For cultivated meat, the FDA oversees the sourcing, selection, and growth of the cells and all components and inputs used in the production process. USDA takes over when the cells are removed from the sealed cultivators (known as 'harvesting').
Receiving a GOI from USDA means that UPSIDE has met the applicable federal requirements and standards to operate as a meat establishment and is allowed to process, package, and sell its cultivated chicken in the USA under the inspection of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
UPSIDE’s cultivated chicken is produced in its Engineering, Production and Innovation Center, which UPSIDE affectionately calls EPIC, located in a neighborhood just outside of San Francisco.
"Now that we’ve received clearance to begin commercial production, we can continue the process of scaling. We need to scale our own facilities and processes and our supply chains, too. (For example, many of the nutrients our cells need to grow have never been required at large, food-scale quantities and costs before.) We are working on this every day.
"While we will launch with our smaller-scale processes, our large-scale cultivators at EPIC can produce up to 50,000 lbs of cultivated meat across our portfolio of products every year, with a projected expansion capacity of up to 400,000 lbs. And we’ve got even bigger plans: we’re already at work on a larger space that has a planned annual capacity of millions of pounds of cultivated meat products."
So, who's going to get their mouths around the product first? "Soon, you’ll be able to eat delicious UPSIDE cultivated chicken at one of the coolest restaurants in the country," the statement noted. "We’re thrilled to share that our cultivated chicken will soon be available to the public for the first time at San Francisco’s Bar Crenn, prepared by 3-Michelin Star chef Dominique Crenn. Chef Crenn is a friend and partner of UPSIDE’s and a long-time champion of sustainable food systems. Chef Crenn has developed an exquisite signature dish featuring UPSIDE cultivated chicken that will be available soon.
"As a company and as an industry, we’ve made an almost unfathomable amount of progress in the past eight years. But in many ways, our biggest challenges lie ahead. In 2022, Americans consumed about 75 billion pounds of red meat and poultry. That’s a lot of meat, and demand is still growing! That’s why we’re excited to take the next step of our journey and start serving UPSIDE cultivated chicken to the world."
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