UPSIDE Foods Says It Has Received USDA Approval for Cultured Meat

By Lea Douglas

(Reuters) – UPSIDE Foods of California said on Wednesday it had received regulatory approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the label of its cell-grown chicken, making it the first company in the United States to obtain this approval.

Several companies are seeking approval from US regulators for cultured meat and fish products, hoping to appeal to consumers concerned about the environmental impact of raising livestock for food.

“The approval of our label by the USDA marks a major step forward in our goal of creating a more humane and sustainable food system,” said Dr. Uma Valeti, CEO and Founder of UPSIDE.

UPSIDE was also the first company to receive the green light for its cultured chicken from the United States Food and Drug Administration last year.

Cultured meat is made from a small sample of cattle cells taken from live animals, which are then fed a mixture of nutrients and cultured in steel tanks.

The FDA and USDA both play a role in the cultured meat approval process: the FDA assesses whether the product is safe for human consumption, and the USDA reviews the product label and conducts a inspection of facilities.

UPSIDE does not yet have a timeline for when its production plant in Emeryville, Calif., will be inspected by the USDA, the company said.

(Reporting by Leah Douglas; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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