Food

Jose Andres commits to serving lab-grown chicken

The commitment comes as cultivated chicken clears a regulatory hurdle for U.S. consumption.
Cultivated or lab-grown chicken. / Photo courtesy of Good Meat

With federal regulators moving closer to approving the sale and consumption of cultured meats in the United States, celebrity chef Jose Andres has agreed to feature lab-grown chicken at one of his Washington, D.C., restaurants.

The use of the cultivated protein would make Andres one of the first U.S. adopters, and definitely the first to use the products of supplier Good Meat, the company said in a Tuesday announcement.

Cultivated meats were approved for sale and consumption in Singapore two years ago. Approval within the U.S. moved a big step forward Monday when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration informed Good Meat that all of the agency’s questions and concerns have been addressed, a communication known as a no-questions letter. The note essentially affirms that the FDA has concluded the meat is safe.

The next step is securing approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to grow and sell cultured meat in the U.S. The department is responsible for safeguarding meats that are grown in the U.S. Good Meat said in its announcement that it is actively working with the USDA to secure the necessary go-aheads.

Cultured meats have been a source of controversy. Proponents say the production process—cultivating cells in a laboratory-like environment and allowing them to replicate into what looks and tastes like familiar meats—is less taxing on the environment than raising the animals that yield our proteins. On a large scale, conventional animal husbandry pumps significant volumes of carbon emissions into the environment. Cultivating meats in a lab averts that strain on the eco-system.

They also note that ranching and farming may not be able to keep up with increasing demand for animal-based proteins.

Opponents bash cultured meats as “Frankenfoods” that run contrary to the movement toward less processed, more natural foods.

They also question if production levels can be ramped up to a feasible level, given the complexity of cultivating meats, and if the price will be reasonable.

With Andres, Good Meat has a celebrity advocate whose humanitarian work suggests a well-developed social conscience.

The future of our planet depends on how we feed ourselves…and we have a responsibility to look beyond the horizon for smarter, sustainable ways to eat,” Andres said in Good Meat’s announcement.

He has served on the board of Good Meat since 2021.

Andres’ Washington, D.C.-based company operates 30 fine-dining and fast-casual restaurants in the United States. He did not reveal which location planned to serve the lab-grown chicken.

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