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US regulator allows first sales of lab-grown meat



The US Department of Agriculture has given permission to two companies to sell lab-grown meat in the country for the first time.


Two companies, Upside Foods and Good Meat, say they have received final US Department of Agriculture approval to sell lab-grown meat, paving the way for the country's first-ever sales of the product.


With the approvals, the United States will become the second country after Singapore to allow the sale of so-called cultivated meat, which is derived from a sample of livestock cells that are fed and grown in steel vats.


The companies are the first to complete the multi-step US approval process for cultivated meat. 


The US Food and Drug Administration has already determined that the meat is safe to eat.


"It is a dream come true," Upside CEO Uma Valeti said.

"It marks a new era."


The companies, which both make cultivated chicken, plan to first serve their product at high-end restaurants before scaling production to reach a lower cost for grocery stores.


Upside chicken will first be served at Bar Crenn, a restaurant in San Francisco owned by chef Dominique Crenn, the company said. 


Good Meat will sell its first batch of chicken to the José Andrés Group, owned by the humanitarian and chef, Good Meat said.


The companies said they are still determining an exact timeline for when the products will hit plates.


Upside told Reuters it will soon announce the location of a new US production facility that is 10 to 20 times larger than its existing Emeryville, California, plant.


Cultivated meat companies hope their products will provide an appealing alternative for meat eaters looking for a more environmentally friendly and humane option for their cuts, and who may be unsatisfied with vegetarian products already on the market.


Livestock production generates 14.5 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation.


The USDA earlier this month issued label approval to both companies. 


The FDA issued its approvals to Upside in November 2022 and to Good Meat in March 2023.


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