Come Next Thanksgiving, We Might Be Giving Thanks for Government-Approved, Lab-Grown Turkey
People concerned about the ethics of eating meat, but still eager to participate in the typical Thanksgiving feast, might not have to choke down tofurkey for too much longer.
That’s thanks to the efforts of nascent “cultivated meat” companies plugging away at the seemingly impossible task of creating real meat without the associated death and environmental damage. Seemingly more impossible still, regulators are starting to smile on the new industry’s mission.
This past week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (boo, hiss) completed its first-ever premarket consultation of cultivated chicken produced by Upside Foods. The agency declared that the Berkeley, California, company’s process for producing lab-grown chicken from harvested live chicken cells resulted in meat that was safe for human consumption.
Pending approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the company will be able being able to bring its cultivated chicken to market.
“We’re in early days but the FDA greenlight is the opening of the floodgates,” says Eric Schulze, Upside’s vice president of regulatory and public policy. “Any meat that is commonly consumed as food, we are working on.”
Schulze tells Reason that Upside can produce anywhere from 5,000 to 400,000 pounds of cultivated meat at its Engineering, Production, and Innovation Center (EPIC) production facility in the Bay Area city of Emeryville, California.
It’s at the EPIC facility that the company takes small cell samples of live animal muscle, fat, and sinew tissue and sticks them in large, stainless-steel tanks where they’re “fed” with water, sugar, amino acids, and other basic nutrients.
“They’re grown in what looks very similar to I’d say a beer brewery or dairy operation-looking facility,” says Schulze. “The goal of the entire process is to take that one cell that we’ve identified and grow trillions of cells.”
Upside Foods’ plan is to soon migrate to a commercial facility capable of producing up to 15 million pounds of cultivated meat, poultry, and seafood for sale in restaura
Article from Reason.com