U.S.D.A. gives full approval to California-based cultivated meat producer Eat Just for its chicken products

The cultivated meat division of Alameda, Calif.-based Eat Just Inc. announced yesterday that the United State Department of Agriculture approved cultivated chicken from its Good Meat cultivated meat division. This clearance means the firm’s chicken, which is made directly from animal cells, can now be sold to American consumers.

“This announcement that we’re now able to produce and sell cultivated meat in the United States is a major moment for our company, the industry and the food system," Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of GOOD Meat and Eat Just said. "We have been the only company selling cultivated meat anywhere in the world since we launched in Singapore in 2020, and now it's approved to sell to consumers in the world's largest economy. 

The approval for the cultivated meat, poultry and seafood sector, and for the global food industry, comes on the heels of the USDA’s approval of GOOD Meat’s label – and four months after the company received its “no questions” letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The March milestone indicated the FDA accepted the company’s conclusion that its cultivated chicken is safe to eat and allowed the USDA to begin its part of the regulatory process outlined in a 2019 agreement between the agencies.

GOOD Meat won multiple regulatory approvals for its chicken in Singapore in 2020 and 2021, and in January 2023 received a key clearance that paves the way for greater scalability, lower manufacturing costs and a more sustainable product. Since its Singapore launch, the company’s chicken has been featured on menus at restaurants, and popular hawker stalls via the Foodpanda delivery platform. 

In the United States, under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), all meat and poultry sold commercially must pass inspection to ensure that it is safe, wholesome and properly labeled. To accomplish this, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) places inspectors in slaughterhouses and processing plants -- and for the first time in history, will assign inspectors to Good Meat and other cultivated meat and poultry facilities that follow.

As part of the USDA’s approval, Good Meat received a grant of inspection for its demonstration plant in Alameda, as has its contract manufacturing partner, JOINN Biologics. The comprehensive vetting includes facilities and equipment, standard operating procedures for sanitation; and the systematic approach to identification, evaluation,  and control of food safety hazards known as HACCP.

Immediately after receiving the grant of inspection, production started for the first batch of cultivated chicken that will be sold to celebrated restaurateur and humanitarian Chef José Andrés, the owner of José Andrés Group, which operates more than 30 restaurants across the country. Andres said a yet-to-be-disclosed restaurant in Washington, D.C., would be the first in the country to serve GOOD Meat’s cultivated chicken.  

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