California, United States.- The American startup Upside Foods, which cultivates animal cells to produce meat without killing animals, received the green light last Wednesday for its production methods from the FDA, the United States food safety agency.
“We started Upside in a world full of skeptics and today we have once again made history as the first company to receive an unquestioned letter from the FDA for lab-grown meat,” said Uma Valeti, co-founder and CEO of the firm.
“This milestone marks a big step toward a new era in meat production, and I’m excited that consumers in the United States will soon have the opportunity to eat delicious meat grown directly from animal cells.”
In practice, Upside still has many hurdles to overcome, including inspections by the US Department of Agriculture, before it can sell its products.
The FDA has “carefully” evaluated the data and information provided by the company about its methods and “has no additional questions at this stage about its conclusions in terms of safety,” the food regulator explained in a press release.
But this consultation, he specified, does not constitute an approval process.
Several startups aim to produce and market so-called “lab” or artificial meat to allow humans to consume animal protein with less impact on the environment than intensive farming… and without animal suffering.
These products differ from plant-based or soy substitutes and other ingredients that mimic the texture and flavor of meat, but do not contain animal protein.
Startup Eat Just, a competitor to Upside, was the first to receive permission to market artificial meat, in Singapore in 2020.
Last May, it reached an agreement with an equipment manufacturer to develop giant tanks where it hopes to produce chicken and beef on a large scale.