The US approved a meat product grown from animal cells

A burger made with cultured meat (Reuters) (POOL New /)

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first authorized a meat product cultured from animal cells for human consumption, the agency announced Wednesday.

UPSIDE Foodsa company that manufactures farmed chicken from cells of live animals and uses them to grow meat in stainless steel tanks, it will be able to put its products on the market once they have been inspected by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), according to an FDA statement.

“The world is experiencing a food revolution and the (FDA) is committed to supporting innovation in the food supply,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf and Susan Mayne, director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said in a statement.

A dumpling made with a seafood grown in a laboratory (REUTERS / Travis Teo)
A dumpling made with a seafood grown in a laboratory (REUTERS/Travis Teo) (STAFF/)

The FDA said in documents released Wednesday that it had reviewed the company’s data and had no further questions about the company’s conclusion that its product is safe for human consumption.

“We are delighted with the FDA’s announcement,” David Kay, UPSIDE’s director of communications, said in an email. “This historic step paves the way to market.”

The review isn’t technically an approval and applies only to UPSIDE products, though the agency is willing to work with other companies developing foods from cultured animal cells, the FDA said in a statement.

The USDA and FDA jointly regulate cell-cultured meat under a 2019 agreement between the two agencies. USDA will oversee the processing and labeling of cell-cultured meat products.

The demand for alternatives to farm-raised meat has grown along with awareness of the high emissions of greenhouse gases of cattle breeding. The farmed chicken was served to attendees at this year’s COP27 climate conference in Egypt.

What is cultured meat

Synthetic or cultured meat, also called “clean” meat, refers to meat obtained through farming or industrial tissue culture. The process consists of isolating progenitor cells from a small sample of animal muscle and multiplying them in the laboratory.

On the other hand, a similar procedure is carried out with the precursor cells of fatty tissue, which allows obtaining cultured fatty tissue. Combining both tissues in adequate and different proportions, a product very similar to traditional meat is achieved.

Synthetic meat makes it possible to produce food sustainable not occupying large tracts of land. On the other hand, a second matter that is not minor is the elimination of the consumption of water that the raising of animals requires.

It could also reduce, almost 100%, the emission of greenhouse gases generated throughout the meat production chain.

The nutritional value and taste of meat are strongly linked to the content of muscle fibers, protein and fat that compose it. As both tissues are cultured separately (muscle and fat) and then appropriately combined, trying to imitate natural meata product is obtained that is nutritionally similar and tastes almost the same as meat.

The possibility of controlling this fat content and its composition is also opened, being able to establish nutritional categories of the products, which would give it an advantage over traditional meat.

(With information from Reuters)

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