A noodle bowl made with Upside's chicken. Image credit: Upside

Brief: Upside Foods gets world’s first FDA approval for cultivated meat in the US

November 16, 2022

  • US-based Upside Foods is the first cultivated meat company in the world to get a “No Questions” letter from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • The letter grants GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status to Upside’s cultivated chicken product, paving the way for a market launch in the US.
  • To date, Upside Foods has raised $606 million from Abu Dhabi Growth Fund, Temasek and Softbank Vision Fund, amongst many others.

Why it matters:

Ever since Eat Just’s GOOD Meat nabbed regulatory approval in 2020 to sell its lab-grown chicken bites in Singapore restaurants, cultivated meat startups around the world have talked of launching in various markets. For many, the US is a first choice.

However, before any of these companies can actually sell their wares to the public, they must first gain regulatory approval.

Approval processes — and how long they take — vary from country to country. One report from earlier this year found that “the US is winning” in terms of alt-protein approvals while the EU lags behind. Little surprise, then, that the next big regulatory move for cultivated meat has come from the former.

Upside has previously said “end of 2022” as a launch date for its cultivated chicken. The company must still secure approvals from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) before it can actually sell to consumers. In a statement Upside promised more details on timing and launch to follow.

Presumably, its products will be made in the company’s Engineering, Production and Innovation(EPIC) production that launched in 2021.

In the meantime, it’s expected that three-star Michelin chef Chef Dominique will be among the first to offer Upside’s “chicken” to guests at her Atelier Crenn restaurant in San Francisco.

This news comes just days after Australian company Vow raised $49.2 million for its “exotic” cultivated meats. The company said it plans to launch in Singapore restaurants soon.

 

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