The move opens up vast new opportunities for food-based virtue signaling.
The last time we checked on the practicality of meat products grown from laboratory processes, a new study had just revealed that it was up to 25 times worse for the environment than real beef.
Despite the potential environmental impacts and lack of current technology to safely upscale production to meet current consumer needs, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved its sale to the public, clearing the way for two California companies to sell chicken produced from animal cells.
It will likely be years before shoppers can buy lab-produced meat in grocery stores. But the government’s decision will eventually allow the sale of lab-produced meat across state lines after passing federal inspections.
The decision is a milestone for companies making cell-grown meat, along with consumers looking for alternatives to chickens bred in a factory farm and slaughtered.
Supporters of alternative proteins along with the companies that sought federal approval — Upside Foods and Good Meat — celebrated the news as pivotal for the meat industry and the broader food system at a moment of growing concern about the environmental impact of meat production and its treatment of animals.
“This approval will fundamentally change how meat makes it to our table,” Dr. Uma Valeti, the chief executive and founder of Upside Foods, said in a statement. “It’s a giant step forward towards a more sustainable future — one that preserves choice and life.”
Be on the lookout for the social media campaigns that will soon be promoting this new line of products.
Upside’s chief executive, Uma Valeti, said this marks a paradigm shift in meat production and is a milestone the company has worked toward since 2015. The company plans for its products to be first available at a restaurant: Bar Crenn in San Francisco.
“We’re also running a social media contest for a chance to be among the first in the U.S. to try our cultivated chicken,” Valeti said.
Good Meat will also debut in restaurants, with acclaimed chef José Andrés ready to serve it at one of his dining rooms in D.C.
“Launching our cultivated chicken in a restaurant setting is the perfect way to introduce consumers to real meat that’s made in a whole new way. Being able to do that with José Andrés, one of the most respected chefs in the world, is a dream come true,” said Andrew Noyes, the company’s head of global communications.
The approach may prove challenging. People have concerns.
I dunno, dude. FDA just greenlit lab grown meat. pic.twitter.com/L11HKljY1K
— Turi (@Turiladun) June 22, 2023
Lab grown meat! YUCK!!! US approves chicken made from cultivated cells, the nation’s first ‘lab-grown’ meat https://t.co/6VJAtdIJis
— daisy (@Paused4Cause) June 22, 2023
However, the move opens up vast new opportunities for food-based virtue signaling.
Lab grown meat is objectively the moral alternative to what we do now and can probably be made healthier too.
I'm all for it.
— Kiku15 (@Shakky151) June 22, 2023
If the California firms are hoping that premiering the laboratory meat in a high-end San Francisco restaurant is going to inspire the rest of American to join the craze, they are in for a world of disappointment. This is especially true as at least 10 restaurants in the area closed in May, and with the way its looking in the Bay Area, there may not be many remaining soon.
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