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Pacific Northwest
Hawai'i CFS

Statement on FDA's First-Ever Approval of Lab Grown Chicken

from Jaydee Hanson, Policy Director

November 17, 2022
Center for Food Safety

Issue Background

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently completed its preliminary review of the first lab grown "chicken" to be sold as food. The FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are both reviewing "meats" which are grown in vats from cells extracted from living animals. This week's announcement by the FDA that it was reviewing a cell-cultured chicken "meat" is the first indication that these products might come to market in the US.


The FDA's review of the first-ever cell-cultured food for U.S. approval is a start, but grossly inadequate. In this "pre-market consultation," neither the company nor the FDA presented the actual data from tests looking at the effects of raising these cells in fetal bovine serum and enzymes from the intestines and pancreas of animals. Likewise, while the company notes that it uses genetic engineering to keep the cells growing, it fails to share which genes are being used. This is vital information that consumers and policymakers need to know to make informed decisions in the best interests of public health. We should make certain that genes linked to cancer are not being used. In short, the documents shared by the FDA and the UPSIDE Foods Co. show us where more research and more transparent data are needed, but this is a woefully deficient review by the FDA. In its review of the company's documents, the FDA states it has "no further questions" about this experimental product's safety—but we have many more questions. In the name of protecting public health, consumers and policymakers deserve better.

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