The FDA Has Approved Lab-Grown Meat For The First Time - Men's Health Magazine Australia

The FDA Has Approved Lab-Grown Meat For The First Time

A watershed moment in the history of food, lab-grown meat has now been given the green light by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As climate change continues to be the most urgent threat facing society, many are on the quest to reduce our collective environmental impact and create sustainable alternatives – particularly when it comes to those foods we love so much, but aren’t exactly doing the planet much good. Now, in what is being hailed as a watershed moment in the history of food, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved lab-grown meat for the first time, with the agency saying that a “cultivated chicken” product by Upside Foods is safe to eat. 

According to reports, the FDA “evaluated the information submitted to the agency and has no further questions at this time about the firm’s safety conclusion.” It means that US consumers will now have the chance to eat delicious meat that’s grown directly from animal cells.

When it comes to meat consumption, industrial meat is the single biggest cause of deforestation globally, requiring a huge amount of land to sustain itself. According to a 2020 report from IDTechEx, despite using 77 per cent of agricultural land, only 17 per cent of global caloric consumption comes from animals. Added to the issue are concerns over human rights and animal welfare, while livestock production methods are considered one of the main drivers of environmental damage.  As Greenpeace notes, “If everyone ate a plant-based diet, we’d need 75 per cent less farmland than we use today. That’s an area equivalent to the US, China, Europe and Australia combined.” 

Thanks to companies like Upside Foods, the drive to see lab-grown meat hit the mass market is one that presents exciting possibilities for the future. In this instance, the cells from a single chicken allow for the cultivation of the same amount of poultry that comes from hundreds of thousands of farmed birds, according to the company. 

As Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of Upside Foods, the California-based company, explains, the idea originated in 2015 after working at the Mayo Clinic where he grew human heat cells in a lab. Scientists were able to take cells from an animal with a needle biopsy, and then feed them nutrients to proliferate and produce meat. 

CBS News reports, “Scientists say roughly a third of all human-produced greenhouse gases stem from food production, especially cattle. Proponents of lab-grown meat say it would help cut back on methane emissions and help combat global warming.”

While the FDA has said Upside Foods’ chicken is safe to eat, the product is not yet available to be sold as the company now has to work on clearing further hurdles before taking the product to the mass market. Still, the news is an exciting step forward in a more sustainable direction as it’s hoped more companies like Upside Foods see their lab-grown meat approved, all so consumers might be able to enjoy the taste while living a more sustainable lifestyle in the process. 

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

More From