Two companies, Upside Foods and Good Meat, said on Wednesday they have received final US Department of Agriculture approval to sell lab-grown meat, paving the way for the nation's first-ever sales of the product.
The companies are the first to complete a multi-step approval process for so-called cultivated meat, which is derived from a sample of livestock cells that are fed and grown in steel vats. The US Food and Drug Administration has already determined that the food is safe to eat.
With the approvals, the United States will become the second country after Singapore to allow cultivated meat sales.
"It is a dream come true," said Uma Valeti, CEO of Upside, in an interview. "It marks a new era."
Companies will serve food at high-end restaurants before lowering costs
The companies, which both make cultivated chicken, plan to first serve their product at high-end restaurants before scaling production to reach a lower cost for grocery stores.
Upside chicken will first be served at Bar Crenn, a restaurant in San Francisco owned by chef Dominique Crenn, the company said. Good Meat will sell its first batch of chicken to the José Andrés Group, owned by the humanitarian and chef, Good Meat said.
The companies said they are still determining an exact timeline for when the products will hit plates.
Cultivated meat companies hope their products will provide an appealing alternative for meat eaters looking for a more environmentally friendly and humane option for their cuts, and who may be unsatisfied with vegetarian products already on the market.
Livestock production generates 14.5% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The USDA this month issued label approval to both companies.