The Food and Drug Administration has granted preliminary approval for the sale and consumption of a second lab-created chicken product.
The agency said it had “no question” about California-based GOOD Meat’s cell-grown product in a March 21 letter.
“We have no questions at this time regarding GOOD Meat’s conclusion that foods comprised of or containing cultured chicken cell material [are] as safe as comparable foods produced by other methods,” the agency stated in a letter to the company.
GOOD Meat is the cultivated meats division of Eat Just Inc. tasked with making meat substitutes derived from animal cells that do not involve “slaughtered animals.” Eat Just is a plant-based food startup founded in 2011 and valued at $1.2 billion as of July 2022.
“Cultivated meat is derived from a small sample of animal cells that are fed nutrients and grown in steel vats before being processed into cuts of meat,” reports The New York Post.
The FDA noted that its “voluntary pre-market consultation is not an approval process.” As part of the consultation, the agency reviewed GOOD Meat’s “production process and the cultured cell material made by the production process, including the establishment of cell lines and cell banks, manufacturing controls, and all components and inputs.”
GOOD Meat will sell its products in the 30 restaurants owned by chef José Andrés, including Nubeluz, San Laurel, China Poblano, and Agua Viva.
“The future of our planet depends on how we feed ourselves … pushing the boundaries with technology, building longer tables for everyone to have smarter ways to eat,” Andrés tweeted on March 21. “Excited for you to taste it soon at one of my DC restaurants!”
The company now needs approval from the Department of Agriculture. Specifically, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service will need to inspect the company’s manufacturing facilities. If approved for commercial sale, all of the lab-grown meat products will need a mark of inspection from the USDA-FSIS.
“The FDA will issue guidance to assist firms that intend to produce human food made from cultured animal cells prepare for pre-market consultations, and the published draft of this guidance will represent a formal opportunity for public comment and discussion,” stated the FDA. “As we continue to support innovation in food technologies, resulting in more choices for consumers in the marketplace, our priority is the safety of food produced through both new and traditional methods.”
The FDA approved UPSIDE Food’s request to sell cultivated meats, including poultry and seafood, on Nov. 16, 2022.
“The firm will use animal cell culture technology to take living cells from chickens and grow the cells in a controlled environment to make the cultured animal cell food,” FDA said in a statement. However, the agency told UPSIDE that it did not endorse the term “cultured chicken cell material” as an “appropriate common or usual name for declaring the substance.”
News of GOOD Meat’s progress with the FDA comes roughly three weeks after Eat Just announced it was cutting 18% of its workforce, which amounts to about 45 people.