Photo source: Noodle bowl featuring UPSIDE Chicken
This week something big went down in the U.S. food system. In case you missed the announcement, as it is not directly dairy related, UPSIDE Foods became the first company in the world to receive a “No Questions” letter from FDA for cultivated meat, poultry or seafood.
The FDA released a MEMO detailing the agency’s review of the data and information provided by UPSIDE Foods to establish the safety of its cultivated chicken filet. If you are a food science geek like me, it’s an interesting read. You can access it HERE.
This letter indicates that FDA accepts UPSIDE’s conclusion that its cultivated chicken is safe to eat. This historic step paves the way for the company’s path to market in the U.S. and brings cultivated chicken one step closer to consumers’ plates.
“This is a watershed moment in the history of food,” said Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of UPSIDE Foods. This milestone marks a major step towards a new era in meat production, and I’m thrilled that U.S. consumers will soon have the chance to eat delicious meat that’s grown directly from animal cells.”
In the U.S., cultivated meat is regulated by both FDA and USDA. Having received a “No Questions” letter from FDA, UPSIDE Foods will now work with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to secure the remaining approvals that are required before the company’s cultivated chicken can be sold to consumers.
Here’s what you need to know. UPSIDE Foods grows meat, poultry and seafood directly from animal cells. These products are not vegan or vegetarian, but they are said to be planet friendly. It is projected that cultivated meat production, at scale, will use less water and land than conventionally produced meat. And, because it’s made in a controlled environment subject to high standards of testing for safety and quality control, it has the potential to help reduce the risk of harmful bacterial contamination, according to the company.
Cultivated meat is a close relative to precision fermentation of dairy. While both have a place in the U.S. food system to feed the burgeoning population, remember, these products are not vegan. They start from animal cells…and frankly, if I think about it too much, it creeps me out. But without a doubt, there is a need for these alternative forms of high-quality protein.