USDA approves consumption of laboratory-grown chicken meat

The United States is the only country in the world, along with Singapore, that accepts the sale and consumption of this type of product.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the sale of chicken made from animal cells to the public, making the United States the second country in the world to allow this alternative.

Upside Foods and Good Meat, producers of the “cultured” meat, announced this Wednesday through their social networks that they received their latest approval for producing and selling this product.

This decision will make the United States the only country in the world after Singapore to allow the sale of this product created with cells extracted from an animal's body and produced in large steel tanks.

“This final approval means that Good Meat is declared safe to eat and produce in the United States, marking a groundbreaking moment for cultivated meat,” the company said.

The producers assure that this is a proposal that seeks to use technology to create consumable meat products as an option to eliminate harm to animals and reduce environmental impacts.

“Instead of all of that land and all of that water that’s used to feed all of these animals that are slaughtered, we can do it in a different way,” said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Good Meat.

Higher costs

Despite the optimism of “cultured” chicken producers, the sale of this new lab-grown meat may not be such an easy sell because production costs are much higher than traditional options.

Experts’ concerns

Several experts have said that lab meat producers may be overstating the reality of how viable it is to grow animal protein. According to Professor Ricardo San Martin, who directs the alternative meats lab at the Berkeley School of Engineering, making larger quantities tends to exponentially multiply problems, from necrotic cells to viral infections.

“No one has scaled up production to the point where they can produce the meat at a competitive price,” opined Harini Venkataraman, an analyst in the cell-based meat sector.

Chef Andrew Gruel also wrote through its social networks that lab-grown meat represents a danger “to both our food system and our economy. The energy required for production is outrageous - it can only survive on government subsidies. It’s full of additives and doesn’t mimic the healthful qualities of meat at all.”