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Good Meat Receives FDA’s Second Clearance for Lab-Grown Chicken

March 21, 2023
The Eat Just subsidiary was the first to gain approval elsewhere in the world, in Singapore in 2020.

Good Meat, the California-based cultivated meat division of food technology company Eat Just Inc., announced today (March 21) it received a “no questions" letter from the FDA accepting the company’s assertion that its cultivated chicken is safe to eat. There are still several hurdles before its chicken is available for consumers, but it gets Good Meat out of the starting gate.

“The voluntary pre-market consultation is not an approval process,” FDA wrote in its own announcement. “Instead, it means that after our careful evaluation of the data and information shared by the firm, we have no further questions at this time about the firm’s safety conclusion.

“The FDA's pre-market consultation with the firm included an evaluation of the firm’s production process and the cultured cell material made by the production process, including the establishment of cell lines and cell banks, manufacturing controls and all components and inputs,” the agency noted.

This makes Good Meat the second company to gain FDA’s nod for the first step toward full approval of cultured meats. Upside Foods was the first, announcing last November the same FDA non-objection letter for its process. Upside also is developing cultured chicken.

The FDA warned at that time that Upside’s production facility still needs to pass FDA and USDA requirements, and that the product itself will need a USDA stamp; presumably the same cautions apply to Good Meat.

“This clears a crucial step in bringing Good Meat to restaurants and retail in the U.S. more than two years after its historic approval and launch in Singapore,” Good Meat wrote. “The company is now working with [USDA] on necessary approvals before world-renowned chef and humanitarian José Andrés becomes the first in the country to offer Good Meat’s chicken to customers at a restaurant in Washington, D.C.”

Good Meat became the first approved cultured meat in the world when, in December 2020, Singapore approved its chicken nuggets for sale in that country.

“Over the course of many months, Good Meat’s development, manufacturing and regulatory teams prepared extensive documentation for the FDA detailing the safety and production process for its cultivated chicken,” the company wrote. “The company provided details on the identity, purity and stability of chicken cells used as well as a thorough description of its consistent, robust and scalable process, which does not require antibiotics at any stage. The submission included an in-depth safety review of the media used to grow its non-genetically modified cells.

“Safety and quality validations submitted by Good Meat demonstrated that harvested cultivated chicken met poultry microbiological and purity standards, with microbiological levels significantly cleaner than conventional chicken,” the company statement continued. “The analysis also demonstrated that Good Meat's cultivated chicken contains high protein content, a well-balanced amino acid profile and is a rich source of minerals.”

Good Meat continues to sell its chicken in Singapore in fine dining establishments, hawker stalls, via the Foodpanda delivery platform and most recently by reservation at Huber’s Butchery, “one of Singapore’s premier producers and suppliers of high-quality meats. Thousands of dishes, ranging from crispy strips and curries to skewers and salads, have been sold in Singapore and have received universally high marks from diners.”

According to consumer research conducted by a global management consulting firm on behalf of Good Meat, 70% of Singaporeans who tried the cultivated chicken said it tasted as good or better than conventional chicken. Nearly 90% of those diners said they would substitute conventional chicken with cultivated chicken. Approximately 90% of restaurant operators said they would be open to selling cultivated meat, and most said they could envision cultivated meat replacing conventional meat on menus within a decade.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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