Upside Foods weighs in on cultivated meat labeling debate

December 6, 2021 |

In California, cultivated meat major Upside Foods has told the USDA that cultivated meat should be called cultivated meat, noting that any regulations on labeling should avoid terminology misleading to consumers. 

“The labeling of cultivated meat and poultry products will be a crucial component of how our industry conveys the basic nature, essential characteristics, and value of these products to consumers,” Upside Foods said in a public statement. Terms such as lab-grown or lab-based could suggest the meat would always be produced in a lab-setting; according to Upside Foods, cultivated meat production will eventually resemble any other food production facility. 

The term synthetic would also be inaccurate, since the cultivated animal cells are produced via biological processes, and labeling the meat as fake is “overtly disparaging.” 

The public statement was in response to USDA’s calls for input on rulemaking for “Labeling of Meat and Poultry Products Comprised of or Containing Cultured Animal Cells.”

Upside Foods, whose backers include Bill Gates and Richard Branson, recently completed a large, cultivated chicken production facility in Emeryville, CA, although regulatory approval for sale has not yet been granted in the US. 

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