No, You Didn’t Accidentally Buy Lab-Grown Meat at the Grocery Store

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Are lab-grown meat products being sold at American grocery stores? A number of viral posts across social media claim that a package of cultivated chicken was recently purchased at an Aldi. “I just want to make everyone aware that lab grown meat is now in our markets please be careful because this looks absolutely disgusting,” says one post with more than 16,000 shares on Facebook.

The post, however, is false: Lab-grown meat is not currently available for purchase in U.S. grocery stores.

“I can confirm that cultivated meat is not currently sold in U.S. stores,” Dr. Elliot Swartz, the principal scientist for cultivated meat at the Good Food Institute, a nonprofit that promotes alternative meat development, told The Dispatch Fact Check. “Two cultivated chicken products have been approved for sale in the United States, and the production volumes of these two products can only currently provide for limited offerings in select restaurants.”

Cultivated meat produced by two companies, Upside and Good Meat, received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2022 and 2023 respectively, and the products became available on a limited basis in 2023 at Bar Crenn in San Francisco and China Chilcano in Washington, D.C. Neither restaurant is still offering the products as of this writing—though a spokesperson for China Chilcano told Wired in February 2024 that it would resume its offering later this year.

“When cultivated meat becomes more widely available to consumers through grocery stores, this will be a very important milestone for the industry, as it will signal that production scales have substantially increased and costs have decreased,” Swartz said. “Unfortunately, the industry is not yet at that stage of development.”

The FDA and Department of Agriculture will jointly oversee the production of any commercially available cultivated meat product, and the Food Safety and Inspection Service intends to publish new labeling requirements for any such product. “When cultivated meat becomes more widely available in the future,” Swartz explained, “consumers can expect these products to look nearly identical to conventional meat and be appropriately labeled so that consumers can make an informed choice about the products they select at their grocery stores.”

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