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Chicken grown from cells in bioreactors produced by Upside Foods and Eat Just has received labeling approval from the USDA. The approved label for these products will be “cell-cultivated chicken,” marking the first approval of labels for this type of meat by the USDA. This approval indicates compliance with pre-market labeling requirements.
Despite this milestone, Upside Foods and Eat Just still require grants of inspection from the USDA for their manufacturing facilities to achieve complete approval for selling cultivated chicken in the United States. Both companies had previously obtained FDA approval for their chicken products.
The USDA’s decision on the labeling of cell-cultivated meat reflects the ongoing debate surrounding proper terminology. During a docket period, the USDA received 1,179 comments from various stakeholders. Opinions ranged from prohibiting meat-affiliated terms for these products to allowing traditional meat names with informative and transparent labeling.
While the USDA’s approval of Upside Foods’ and Eat Just’s labels appear to align with cultivated meat advocates, it should be noted that this decision applies only to these specific products. The USDA plans to introduce a proposed rule on labeling cultivated meat products in general by the end of 2023.
Eat Just has engaged in extensive discussions with the USDA regarding their product labeling and expressed a preference for the term “cultivated,” which is also widely supported by other companies globally.
Both Upside Foods and Eat Just are actively collaborating with the USDA to obtain full approval, including grants of inspection for their cultivated meat products. However, no specific timeline has been provided for when these approvals will be granted.