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Lab-Grown Meat Makes Breakthrough With FDA Approval
November 22nd 2022

Lab-Grown Meat Makes Breakthrough With FDA Approval


Lab-grown meat (also called cultivated or cultured meat) from Upside Foods received the FDA’s stamp of approval on November 16, 2022, to market their novel alternate meat ingredients to US customers. This is the culmination of much anxious anticipation from alternative food manufacturers. The FDA reviewed all safety data submitted by Upside, concluded that lab-grown meat is safe for human consumption, and hailed the efforts of Upside. This historic decision takes cell-based meat a step closer to the market, pending approval from the USDA on processing and labeling regulations. This is welcome news for the food industry and all stakeholders who are in the quest to address one of the biggest challenges facing our world today – sustainable food production to feed the 8 billion inhabitants of our planet. Upside now joins the league of other companies pursuing the production of alternative protein from the plant, fermentation, and insect-based technologies. We congratulate Upside Foods for its pioneering work and tenacity! With this declaration, the US becomes the second country to give a seal of approval for cell-based meat after Singapore. 

The global alternative protein business is expected to reach 200 billion dollars by 2030. Research and development initiatives in alternative protein production pathways are rising, and cell-based meat will play a significant role. Since 2010, the industry has raised 11.1 billion dollars to develop and market these goods. We believe the FDA’s move sets the scene for many more announcements in the coming months. Stakeholder focus on early market entry, however, offers challenges to the safety (chemical and microbial), acceptability (sensory and organoleptic), and quality of these products. Proper labeling – of ingredients, nutrition, residues, contaminants, and secondary metabolites – is also critical to guide the decision of customers. As these products are intended to replace some of our traditional food, they must not differ so that the consumption of the novel food would be nutritionally disadvantaged to the customer. 

By definition, commodities from these alternative pathways do not have a significant history of consumption, nor are they produced by a method that has been previously used. We at Merieux Nutrisciences are poised to serve these initiatives and offer solutions to the challenges. We are committed to sustainability; we recognize that guaranteeing the safety of the consumer is as important as our commitment to protect the planet. Upside and other companies must ensure the safety, quality, and acceptability standards associated with the numerous ingredients and processes from when these products debut on store shelves. The chemical and microbiological tests to validate these product standards are minimal. We are poised to address these urgent needs with validated and verified chemical and microbial analysis methods. Our ability to holistically serve the industry’s needs makes Merieux Nutrisciences a well-positioned thought partner.

We are delighted to be a part of this “food revolution.” The focus of our global Research, Development, and Industrialization teams on innovative methods is a testimony to our commitment to this front. Customer well-being and the excellence of products are the front and center of our innovation. Our ability to customize testing requirements, foster collaborative partnerships, create global quality systems, and provide expertise in regional regulatory and labeling requirements have made Merieux Nutrisciences one of the preferred partners for the analytical testing needs of traditional and novel food producers. We are committed to delivering unsurpassed quality to this unique food sector with our experience working with pioneers in this area. We have methods to analyze everything from the by-products of media used in the manufacturing process to those molecules responsible for the organoleptic and sensory attributes of the final presentation.

How can Mérieux NutriSciences help?

Our scientists work relentlessly to test the toxicity, contaminants and residues, secondary metabolites, major or minor nutritional molecules, and known or unknown allergens driven by one vision: the unique Merieux Nutrisciences value of customer safety. Contact us to get started!

By Jay Alappat, Ph. D, Regional Technical Director

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