Berkley, California-based Upside Foods has become the first company in the world to receive a “No Questions” letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for cultivated meat, poultry or seafood. The letter signals that the FDA has accepted Upside’s conclusion that its cultivated chicken is safe to eat. The agency issued this letter Nov. 16 following an evaluation.
“This is a watershed moment in the history of food,” said Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of Upside Foods.
“We started Upside amid a world full of skeptics, and today, we’ve made history again as the first company to receive a ‘No Questions’ letter from the FDA for cultivated meat. This milestone marks a major step towards a new era in meat production, and I’m thrilled that U.S. consumers will soon have the chance to eat delicious meat that’s grown directly from animal cells.”
The FDA released a memo detailing the agency’s review of the data and information provided by Upside Foods to establish the safety of its cultivated chicken filet. In addition, FDA released a comprehensive 104 page document, prepared by Upside Foods, that provides detailed information regarding the safety of and production process for Upside’s cultivated chicken filet.
Since its founding in 2015, Upside Foods has supported the development of a regulatory framework for cultivated meat that ensures safety and transparency. In 2018, it partnered with NAMI to advocate for joint regulatory oversight of cultivated meat by the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The following year, Upside Foods co-founded the world’s first trade coalition for cultivated meat: the Alliance of Meat, Poultry and Seafood Innovation.
“Since our earliest days, our top priority has been to ensure the safety and quality of our products,” said Eric Schulze, VP of regulatory and public policy.
“FDA sets the standard for global acceptance of new food innovations, and we are incredibly grateful for the agency’s rigorous and thoughtful process to ensure the safety of our food supply. We’re also extremely proud to have played a leading role in helping to champion the framework for how cultivated meat, poultry and seafood are regulated in the U.S.”
In the U.S., cultivated meat is regulated by both the FDA and the USDA. Having received the letter from the FDA, Upside Foods will work with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to secure the remaining approvals that are required before Upside Foods’ cultivated chicken can be sold to consumers.