Ba-kawk! UPSIDE Foods Pens Open Letter to Chickens to Mark Historic US FDA “Green Light” for Cultivated Meat
To commemorate a groundbreaking regulatory milestone for UPSIDE Foods and for the future of food, UPSIDE Foods founder and CEO Uma Valeti published an open letter in today’s New York Times to those who will benefit most from the news: chickens. UPSIDE Foods is the leading cultivated meat, poultry, and seafood company and grows delicious meat directly from animal cells.
Valeti — a trained cardiologist and life-long animal lover — addressed the chickens of the world in their native bawk-filled language. He announced that UPSIDE Foods is the first company in the world to receive a “No Questions” letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that after a rigorous evaluation, FDA has accepted UPSIDE’s safety conclusion. UPSIDE’s first product will be a chicken filet, and it will be available following USDA inspection and label approval. “The affirmation from FDA is a watershed moment in the history of food,” says Valeti, “and an even bigger moment for chickenkind.”
In the Times open letter, Valeti wrote, “In the future, we might be eating just as much meat as we always have. But a lot fewer animals are going to have to suffer for it. We wanted you, the chickens of the world, to be the first to know. And we hope it brings a smile to your beaks.” Read the full English translation at upsidechickenletter.com.
UPSIDE Foods selected chicken as its first commercial offering because it’s the most commonly eaten meat in the U.S. and is quickly becoming the meat of choice for consumers around the world. Every year, Americans consume an estimated 8 billion chickens — or roughly 100 pounds per person — a number that has doubled since the 1970s. This growth in demand has been accompanied by an exponential increase in high-intensity industrial chicken farming resulting in more animal suffering.
UPSIDE Foods’ chicken is cultivated directly from animal cells. It’s not vegan or vegetarian – it’s delicious meat, made without the need to raise and slaughter billions of chickens. In fact, at full commercial scale, UPSIDE could use a small amount of animal cells to cultivate the same amount of poultry meat that could come from hundreds of thousands of traditionally farmed birds.
In regulatory terms, UPSIDE’s “No Questions” letter marks a major step towards a new era in meat production where Americans will soon have the opportunity to buy delicious chicken that’s grown directly from animal cells.
On top of all this, it’s projected that cultivated meat production at scale will use less water and land than conventionally-produced meat. And because it’s made in a controlled environment subject to high standards of testing for safety and quality control, it has the potential to help reduce the risk of harmful bacterial contamination.
This announcement comes after a series of milestones as UPSIDE Foods approaches commercialization, including a $400M Series C placing their valuation at over $1 billion, the acquisition of cultivated seafood company Cultured Decadence, a partnership with three-Michelin starred chef Dominique Crenn, and the opening of its Engineering, Production, and Innovation Center (EPIC), one of the world’s most advanced cultivated meat production facilities. Next, UPSIDE Foods will continue to work with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to secure the remaining approvals that are required before UPSIDE Foods’ cultivated chicken can be sold to consumers. More details on the timing of the launch will follow.