The United States has recently approved the sale of lab-grown meat, making it the second nation to do so after Singapore. The green light from regulatory authorities marks a historic moment for the scientific and agricultural industries.
Lab-grown meat, also known as cell-based or cultured meat, is produced through a process in which animal cells are harvested and cultivated in a controlled environment, making it possible to create muscle tissue without the need for raising and slaughtering animals. With mounting concerns about the environmental impact of animal agriculture and the increasing demand for protein-rich foods, many companies have been investing heavily in the research and development of lab-grown meat alternatives.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) have recently given their approval for the first cultured meat product to be sold in the US market. Upside Foods and Good Meat became the first companies to complete the approval process in the US last week, planning to serve their product in high-end restaurants before scaling production to reach a lower cost for grocery stores, according to Reuters.
The approval paves the way for more lab-grown meat products to enter the market. As the approval of lab-grown meat in the US marks a significant step forward, other countries are also exploring the possibilities of this innovative food source. For instance, Australia is considering the introduction of cultured meat products to compete with plant-based meat alternatives.
Alternative proteins group Food Frontier said four companies are working in the cultivated meat ecosystem in Australia and New Zealand.
“Food Standards Australia New Zealand, FSANZ, is in the process of reviewing an application from Australian cultivated meat company Vow to sell cultivated quail,” executive director Dr Simon Eassom said.
He added that the US approval would boost the morale of Australia’s cellular agriculture sector and other food innovators working to introduce greater protein diversity.
“With our highly active food systems innovation and technical initiatives, Australia has the potential to lead the way on the global stage. If approval is granted in Australia, we will be at the forefront of the international race to develop alternative and lucrative, solutions for the ever-growing protein demands worldwide.
“Cultivated meat offers consumers additional choices and helps ensure our food security as we move towards a more sustainable future food system.”
As the industry continues to evolve, the availability and affordability of lab-grown meat are expected to increase, forging a new path in the realm of sustainable food consumption and environmental stewardship.