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California startup Upside Foods just took a major hurdle to bring its lab-grown chicken to a sandwich near you. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a press release published on Wednesday that the agency had completed its “first pre-market consultation of a human food made from cultured animal cells.”
The FDA cleared Upside to continue making meat products with its animal cell culture technology. While the company still needs approval to sell its lab-grown chicken (whether seafood or meat), the FDA has concluded by analyzing how Upside produces its meat that it is safe for consumption. The agency has no doubts about its safety.
This is an important step forward for producers of meat from cultured cells. Upside Foods founder Uma Valeti said in a pronunciation that the company “made history … as the first company to receive a ‘No Questions Asked’ letter from the FDA for cultured meat.”
“This milestone marks a major step into a new era in meat production,” said Valeti, “and I am thrilled that American consumers will soon have the opportunity to eat delicious meats grown directly from animal cells.”
However, Upside Foods still has an important milestone to go in getting approval to sell its product. In addition to FDA approval, the company also requires approval from the Food Safety and Inspection Service, which falls under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).