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FDA clears lab-grown chicken as safe to eat

Lab-grown chicken has taken a step closer to hitting American grocery stores. 

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday cleared "cultured chicken cell material" made by GOOD Meat as safe for use as human food. While the FDA said the lab-grown chicken was safe to eat, GOOD Meat still needs approval from the Agriculture Department before it can sell the product in the U.S.

If approved, acclaimed chef José Andrés plans to serve GOOD Meat's chicken to customers at his Washington, D.C. restaurant. He's on GOOD Meat's board of directors. 

"The future of our planet depends on how we feed ourselves," he said in a press release. "And we have a responsibility to look beyond the horizon for smarter, sustainable ways to eat."

The FDA previously gave the green light to lab-grown chicken made by Upside Foods in November.

Upside Foods and GOOD Meat both use cells from chickens to create the cultured chicken products. 

Once cells are extracted, GOOD Meat picks the cells most likely to produce healthy, sustainable and tasty meat, the company explained. The cells are immersed in nutrients inside a tank. They grow and divide, creating the cultured chicken, which can be harvested after four to six weeks. 

"It's real, delicious meat with an identical nutritional profile to conventionally raised meat but with less impact on our planet and less risk of contamination," GOOD Meat said on its website.

GOOD Meat's chicken is already sold in Singapore.

Global livestock accounts for nearly 15% of greenhouse gasses, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations found in 2013. Advocates for lab-grown meat say it can help cut back on methane emissions and combat climate change.

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