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USDA Approves Sale Of ‘Lab-Grown’ Meat

The United States Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday it approved the sale of “lab-grown” meat for commercial sale.

Two California companies, Good Meat and Upside Foods, are now approved to sell chicken created from animal cells in the United States. The decision makes the U.S. only the second country in the world to allow the commercial sale of lab-grown meat, which is also referred to as “cultured” and “cell-cultivated” meat.

“This announcement that we’re now able to produce and sell cultivated meat in the United States is a major moment for our company, the industry and the food system,” Josh Tetrick, the CEO of Good Meat’s parent company, said in a statement. 

The FDA has already given the green light for lab-grown meat for the two companies, and the approval by the USDA means it can now be sold commercially, though the companies will not be bringing it to grocery stores yet due to high production costs. Just one other country, Singapore, allows the legal sale of lab-grown meat, while in March, Italy moved to ban the sale of it to protect its food heritage, according to the BBC. 

The lab product will be labeled as “cell-cultivated chicken,” CNBC notes. The companies argue that lab-grown meat is a more environmentally sustainable option than animals from farms and ranches. 

“GOOD Meat is real meat, made without tearing down a forest or taking a life. We’re the first and only company in the world to sell cultivated meat made from cells instead of slaughtered animals,” Good Meat says on its website.

“This approval will fundamentally change how meat makes it to our table,” Uma Valeti, CEO of Upside Foods, said. “It’s a giant step forward towards a more sustainable future — one that preserves choice and life.”

These statements come despite a preprint study published in May, which hasn’t been peer-reviewed, that found lab-grown meat may actually be worse for the environment than regular meat.

“If companies are having to purify growth media to pharmaceutical levels, it uses more resources, which then increases global warming potential,” lead author Derrick Risner from UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology said. “If this product continues to be produced using the ‘pharma’ approach, it’s going to be worse for the environment and more expensive than conventional beef production.”

Lab-grown meat, which is not vegetarian, is cultivated from animal cells, which Valeti says are “like a starter dough.” The cells are incubated and grown into masses of meat in steel tanks, then cut and made to look like traditional meat, according to Fox Business. The product will reportedly cost upwards of $20 per pound when it comes to stores. Lab-grown meat is not the same as plant-based “meat” products, such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat.

Initially, two restaurants have partnered with the companies to serve the lab-grown food: Bar Crenn, a Japanese-style restaurant in San Francisco, will be serving the lab-grown meat from Upside Foods, and Good Meat’s product will be sold at a Washington, D.C., restaurant, according to the Associated Press.

Read More From Original Article Here: USDA Approves Sale Of ‘Lab-Grown’ Meat

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