In June, the USDA granted approval for both companies’ labels, which allows them to sell their products under the name “cell-cultivated chicken.” Today’s green light is a grant of inspection, which allows the companies to start up their production facilities. With all these approvals in hand, Upside Foods and Eat Just can produce and sell their products to the public.
Getting signoff from US regulators is a major milestone for the industry, says Po Bronson, general partner at SOSV, Upside’s first venture capital investor. “Making sure food is safe is really important,” Bronson says. “It’s absolutely necessary, and we wouldn’t have a future industry without it.”
Each company plans to launch in restaurants before moving to retail sales. Eat Just’s cultivated chicken will be sold first at an undisclosed restaurant in Washington, DC. Schulze said that Upside’s products, which it produces in a pilot facility in California, should be available by the end of the summer at Bar Crenn, a San Francisco restaurant.
“It’s an incredible, historic moment,” Schulze says. “The next giant hurdle is scaling up. Frankly, that’s what matters.”