Upside Foods and Good Meat – both based in California – separately announced on June 21 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted them approval for federal inspections. These inspections are an important prerequisite before their products are cleared for sale to groceries and restaurants. Both firms had been racing to be the first company to sell lab-grown meat in the United States.
A manufacturing company called Joinn Biologics, which works with Good Meat, was also cleared to make lab-grown meat products. The USDA earlier approved applications from Good Meat and Upside Foods to label their products as "cell-cultured chicken." Prior to this, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deemed the two firms' products safe to eat. (Related: FDA declares lab-grown meat from UPSIDE Foods safe for human consumption – but is it?)
The Alameda, California-based Good Meat makes its products at a 100,000-square-foot plant. They obtain cells from a master cell bank formed from a commercially available chicken cell line. The cells are then combined with a broth-like mixture that contains amino acids, fatty acids, sugars, salts, vitamins and other elements cells need to grow.
The combined mixture is then put inside huge tanks called cultivators, where they grow into large masses. The resulting masses of cultured meat are then taken out of the tanks and shaped into various chicken products. These products include cutlets, nuggets and shredded meat.
Meanwhile, the Berkeley, California-based Upside Foods operates a 70,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in nearby Emeryville. But instead of taking cells from a commercially available cell line, experts from the company take cells from live animals. They choose cells that are most likely to reproduce quickly and consistently, and taste good when formed.
Upside Foods then grows muscle and connective tissue cells in cultivators, forming large sheets. The cultured chicken sheets are then removed from the tanks and formed into cutlets, sausages and other food items.
"Instead of all of that land … [and] water that's used to feed all of these animals that are slaughtered, we can do it in a different way," said Eat Just co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick. Eat Just is the parent company of Good Meat.
Upside Foods CEO Amy Chen, meanwhile, said her company's chicken meat "is the meat [people have] always known and loved." She acknowledged that while many still have doubts over lab-grown chicken meat, they become more accepting of it once they understand how it's made.
People's doubts over lab-grown meat aren't unfounded though. The Raw Egg Nationalist (REN) noted in a February 2023 piece for the National Pulse that cultured meat could cause more harm than good because "immortalized cell lines" – a fancy name for cancer cells – are used to make it.
REN cited a Bloomberg article by contributing writer Joe Fassler explaining the need for immortalized cell lines in fake meat production. He wrote: "Normal meat cells don't just keep dividing forever. To get the cell cultures to grow at rates big enough to power a business, several companies … are quietly using what are called immortalized cells, something most people have never eaten intentionally."
While immortalized cell lines "are a staple of medical research," Fassler noted that these are technically pre-cancerous and can be fully cancerous at times. If placed under the right conditions, the immortalized cells in lab-grown meat products can multiply indefinitely.
"The problem is that the materials used to make the product – 'immortalized cell lines' – replicate forever, just like cancer. Which means, in effect, that they are cancer. Industry types are 'confident' that eating such products poses no risk. But it's not difficult to see, even if the products are 'proven' safe, how people might be put off by the thought that they're eating a glorified tumor."
REN agreed with Fassler's observation, noting that the danger of fake meat made using immortalized cell lines stems from the unavailability of long-term safety data for its consumption.
Watch this video explaining the truth about the lab-grown chicken from Good Meat.
This video is from the High Hopes channel on Brighteon.com.