After many years of research and development, innovation and anticipation, lab-grown meat has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In this episode of the Xtalks Food Podcast, Sydney talks about the historic approval, which was granted to San Francisco-based startup UPSIDE Foods to sell its lab-grown chicken. The product — which is biologically indistinguishable from traditional chicken — is made by growing animal cells in bioreactors, which are fed a mix of nutrients to develop into fat and muscle tissue. Though the company still needs US Department of Agriculture (USDA) approval before it can sell to consumers, it’s a watershed moment for the lab-grown meat space and the broader food industry. While the team is excited about the approval, they are surprised to hear that the price of lab-grown meat ranges from thousands to hundreds of dollars per pound, which is why it likely won’t be commercialized for many years.
Also, in this episode, Sydney talks about the FDA’s final rule on Requirements for Additional Traceability Records for Certain Foods, which includes food traceability protocols for a variety of food products susceptible to contamination. Although food traceability requirements are becoming more common, two grocery trade groups are expressing concerns regarding the new ruling. The final rule, which goes into effect in early 2026, is designed to provide a means for additional traceability of high-risk foods, including produce, cheeses, eggs, nut butter, seafood and deli salads. However, the National Grocers Association (NGA) and the Food Industry Association (FMI) voiced their concerns about the final food traceability rule, claiming it will disproportionately impact smaller grocers. While the team understands the need for further food traceability laws to prevent foodborne illness outbreaks, they also empathize with smaller food producers and sellers who may not have the resources necessary to implement the new rule by 2026.
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