Lab-grown meat slowly on way to US restaurants, grocery stores

NEW YORK CITY, New York: As early as this year, lab-grown meat could be served in some restaurants in the US, as artificial meat companies are optimistic that their meat could be on menus within months, after a company has been granted approval by a key regulator.

Some companies have even recruited leading chefs, such as Argentine Francis Mallmann and Spaniard Jose Andres, to showcase their products.

However, these companies must attract more funding to increase production, which would enable them to offer their products at more affordable prices, as well as convince consumers to try lab-grown meat.

Cultivated meat is made from small samples of cells collected from livestock, which are then grown in large steel vessels called bioreactors, and processed into products that look and taste like meat.

Only Singapore has so far approved such products for retail sale, but the US will soon follow.

In November, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said an artificial chicken breast product grown by California-based UPSIDE Foods was safe for human consumption.

The company aims to bring its chicken breasts to restaurants as soon as 2023, and to grocery stores by 2028, Reuters reported.

However, UPSIDE must still undergo inspection by the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service and receive approval from the agency for its labels.

The FDA has confirmed it is talking to various companies, but has not provided details of pending cultivated meat applications.

The European Union, as well as Israel and other countries, are also working on regulatory frameworks for lab-grown meat, but have yet to approve any products for human consumption.