Lab-grown meat approved by US as safe to eat - what's next?

Would you eat lab-grown chicken?

An unprecedented move by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week could change how we consume meat. 

"The fact that the FDA green-lit Upside Foods' cultivated chicken to move forward to coming to market is something that's never happened in the history of humanity," said Uma Valeti, CEO and co-founder of Upside Foods. 

Upside Foods is a California-based company behind the first lab-grown meat to receive FDA clearance, bringing it a step closer to U.S. grocery stores and restaurants.

But what is it exactly?

"We take high-quality cells from a chicken or an egg, and we grow them with highly-nutritious feed, which has a combination of proteins, fats, sugars, vitamins, and minerals, but we don't have to raise and slaughter a chicken for it."

Valeti, a cardiologist who worked at the Mayo Clinic, says he stopped eating meat in medical school when he saw the detriment of mass meat production, but then he saw an opportunity for a slaughter-free option.

"During my work in cardiology, we were working with stem cells and injecting them into patients' hearts to regrow the heart muscle and that's where this idea came from - ‘can you grow meat directly from animal cells?’ And if so, what would that mean to the world?"

"It has significantly lower environmental impact, which is less downsides, less greenhouse gas emissions, less water pollution, and less use of energy for making the same amount of meat in the world," he added.

With explosive population growth and global demand for meat, it's expected to double in the next 30 years, Valeti believes a lab-grown option that takes two to three weeks as opposed to months or years to make is the innovative solution we need.

 "We are looking forward to a future where we can produce large quantities of meat without having the downsides of intense animal agriculture."

Investors include top meat producer Tyson, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Elon Musks' brother entrepreneur Kimbal Musk, who earlier this year cooked and ate the cultivated chicken on stage at the prestigious LIFE ITSELF health conference. 

Valeti says you too may be able to cook this meat at home within months.

Now that the FDA has green-lit it, the next step in the process is for the USDA to inspect Upside Foods' production facility and approve a label. 

Valeti said this moment is especially significant because he spoke to us from India, where he is attending his father's memorial. 

His father passed away before getting to see the realization of his son's dream, but Valeti says this news would've made him extremely proud.