Alameda / CA. (ju) «Good Meat», the cultivated meat division of food technology company Eat Just Inc., announced that it has received approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its first poultry product, cultivated chicken, to enter interstate commerce. This landmark clearance means the firm’s chicken, which is made directly from animal cells, can now be sold to American consumers.
Today’s watershed moment for the burgeoning cultivated meat, poultry and seafood sector, and for the global food industry, comes on the heels of the USDA’s approval of «Good Meat»’s label – and four months after the company received its «no questions» letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The March milestone indicated the FDA accepted the company’s conclusion that its cultivated chicken is safe to eat and allowed the USDA to begin its part of the regulatory process outlined in a 2019 agreement.
«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. We have been the only company selling cultivated meat anywhere in the world since we launched in Singapore in 2020, and now it’s approved to sell to consumers in the world’s largest economy. We appreciate the rigor and thoughtfulness that both the FDA and USDA have applied during this historic two-agency regulatory process,» said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of «Good Meat» and Eat Just.
«Good Meat» won multiple regulatory approvals for its chicken in Singapore in 2020 and 2021, and in January 2023 received a key clearance that paves the way for greater scalability, lower manufacturing costs and a more sustainable product. Since its Singapore launch, the company’s chicken has been featured on menus at fine dining establishments, popular hawker stalls, via the foodpanda delivery platform and most recently by reservation at one of Singapore’s premier producers and suppliers of high-quality meats.
In the United States, under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), all meat and poultry sold commercially must pass inspection to ensure that it is safe, wholesome and properly labeled. To accomplish this, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) places inspectors in slaughterhouses and processing plants — and for the first time in history, will assign inspectors to «Good Meat» and other cultivated meat and poultry facilities that follow.
As part of the USDA’s approval, «Good Meat» received a grant of inspection for its demonstration plant in Alameda, California, as has its contract manufacturing partner, JOINN Biologics. The comprehensive vetting includes facilities and equipment; standard operating procedure for sanitation; and the systematic approach to identification, evaluation and control of food safety hazards known as HACCP.
After receiving the grant of inspection, production started for the first batch of cultivated chicken that will be sold to celebrated restaurateur and humanitarian Chef José Andrés. Andrés, who is owner of José Andrés Group, which operates more than 30 restaurants across the country, previously shared that a yet-to-be-disclosed restaurant in Washington, D.C. would be the first in the country to serve cultivated chicken.
Dan Glickman, «Good Meat» Advisory Board member; former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and member of the U.S. House of Representatives: «Serving as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture afforded me the opportunity to work with countless individuals at the USDA who were committed to accelerating agricultural innovation and economic opportunity as well as promoting initiatives to better nourish Americans and feed people around the globe. I commend the agency’s current leadership for working collaboratively with their FDA colleagues and the «Good Meat» team to reach this significant regulatory milestone. Today’s approval demonstrates that the United States is a global leader in the promising alternative protein space while also continuing to support family farmers’ efforts to feed the world through conventional food and agriculture techniques.»
Bruce Friedrich, President, The Good Food Institute: «Today’s groundbreaking announcement marks a pivotal moment in our journey towards building a safer, more efficient food system. GFI applauds U.S. regulatory agencies and «Good Meat» for their strong collaboration throughout this rigorous process. American consumers are now closer than ever to eating the real meat they love, that uses far less land and water than conventionally produced meat. By undergoing a comprehensive facility review process and meeting the highest regulatory standards, cultivated meat will provide consumers with a safe and trusted source of protein. As we navigate a future with increasing global demand for meat, it is crucial that governments worldwide prioritize cultivated meat as a solution that satisfies consumer preferences, supports climate goals, and ensures food security for generations to come.»
Robert Rankin, Executive Director, Association of Meat, Poultry, and Seafood Innovation: «Good Meat’s grant of inspection is a historic moment for the global food industry as we prepare for the first cell-cultured/cultivated chicken products to be sold in the United States, following rigorous and science-based evaluations by the FDA and USDA. AMPS Innovation members continue to make ground-breaking advancements that will, in partnership with the entire food and agriculture sector, help meet increased demand for protein as the world’s population continues to grow.»
About: Eat Just Inc. is a food technology company with a mission to build a healthier, safer and more sustainable food system in our lifetimes. The company’s expertise, from functionalizing plant proteins to culturing animal cells, is powered by a world-class team of scientists and chefs spanning more than a dozen research disciplines. Eat Just created one of America’s fastest-growing egg brands, which is made entirely of plants, and the world’s first-to-market meat made from animal cells instead of slaughtered livestock (Photos: «Good Meat» respective Eat Just Inc.).