Lab-grown chicken meat has been approved for human consumption by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), marking the overcoming of a major hurdle to widespread acceptance of “cultured” meat products. Previously, lab-grown chicken dishes had only been approved in small-scale experiments and served in restaurants at the price of premium meat.
Singapore was the first country in the world to approve lab-grown chicken meat products for sale and consumption at prices comparable to conventionally produced meat. But the decision taken by the US FDA to the cheers of PETA and other animal rights organisations carries much greater ‘weight’ for the rest of the food industry, and could be the milestone that marks the beginning of the transition from intensive on-farm breeding to an industry based on ‘growing’ the finished product using cell cloning methods.
Developed by an American company called Upside Foods, the new chicken meat product is produced by “culturing” cells extracted from live animals (in this case, chickens), a method that returns almost unlimited amounts of “product” without the slaughter of other animals.
“Today we’re one step closer to your tables as Upside Foods becomes the first company in the world to receive a green light from the USFDA – that means the FDA has evaluated our production process and accepts our conclusion that our cultured chicken is safe to eat,” say company representatives.
The animal rights advocacy group PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) soon issued a statement supporting the FDA’s decision, describing the beginning of a new era of meat products without animal slaughter.
Although the FDA announcement clears the way for cultured meat products to reach grocery stores, further approvals are needed from the appropriate U.S. authorities, particularly the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Eventually, the new meat could make its way into European stores, if it receives the necessary approvals from EU authorities.