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FDA gives first-ever approval to lab-grown chicken

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Chicken made from real animal cells grown in laboratories could soon be available on store shelves, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the products for the first time. Photo courtesy of UPSIDE Foods
Chicken made from real animal cells grown in laboratories could soon be available on store shelves, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the products for the first time. Photo courtesy of UPSIDE Foods

Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Chicken made from real animal cells grown in laboratories could be available soon on grocery store shelves after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the products for the first time.

The FDA on Wednesday officially approved UPSIDE Foods' chicken made from cells grown in bioreactors.

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Founded in 2015, manufacturer UPSIDE Foods, based in Berkeley, Calif., has raised hundreds of millions of dollars over the years, leading up to Wednesday's historic decision.

"The agency evaluated the information submitted by UPSIDE Foods as part of a pre-market consultation for their food made from cultured chicken cells and has no further questions at this time about the firm's safety conclusion," the FDA said in a statement.

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"Before this food can enter the market, the facility in which it is made also needs to meet applicable U.S. Department of Agriculture and FDA requirements," the statement continued.

"In addition to the FDA's requirements, including facility registration for the cell culture portion, the manufacturing establishment needs a grant of inspection from USDA-Food Safety and Inspection Service for the harvest and post-harvest portions, and the product itself requires a USDA mark of inspection.

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"While this is not considered an approval process, it concludes when all questions relevant to the consultation are resolved. A transition from the FDA to USDA-FSIS oversight will take place during the cell harvest stage."

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Until now, anyone sampling the lab-cultivated meat had to sign waivers acknowledging the experimental nature of the products.

The company was co-founded by Minnesota cardiologist Dr. Uma Valeti with the aim of eventually growing sustainable cultured meat.

"This is a watershed moment in the history of food," Valeti, the company's CEO ,said Wednesday.

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"We started UPSIDE amid a world full of skeptics, and today, we've made history again as the first company to receive a 'No Questions' letter from the FDA for cultivated meat.

"This milestone marks a major step towards a new era in meat production, and I'm thrilled that U.S. consumers will soon have the chance to eat delicious meat that's grown directly from animal cells."

The company grows meat, poultry and seafood directly from animal cells, touting the products as "delicious meat, made without the need to raise and slaughter billions of animals."

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