Coming soon to a plate near you? US Food and Drug Administration issue first step towards approval for cell-based meat

For over a decade, the promise of cultivated meat, grown using cell-culture techniques ex vivo and without slaughter, has so far remained tantalisingly out of reach. However, that may be set to change, as US-based UPSIDE Foods have become the first company making cultivated meat to receive a positive pre-market consultation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This landmark consultation is the first of its kind in any G20 nation.

As cultivated meats are novel foods, without a proven safety record, navigating the regulatory landscape can appear daunting. However, the FDA’s “No Questions Letter” acknowledges the safety of the UPSIDE Foods cultivated chicken, and is a major milestone towards eventual market approval. Whilst there are further regulatory steps remaining before the cultivated meat can be sold to consumers, this development means cultivated meat is closer to the US market than ever before.

As the US is the world’s leading consumer and producer of chicken, approval in this market is highly prized, and steps towards acquiring this are major achievements. Observers may wonder if this indicates a generally favourable attitude at the FDA, and whether the US will join Singapore as a friendly regulatory environment for cultivated meats. It also will be interesting to see to what extent this trend is followed by regulators in key markets such as in Europe and China. Regardless, the future of food has gotten a little bit closer, even if there is still a while to wait before we can have a taste.


This blog was originally written by Andrew Tindall.