FACT CHECK: Viral Post Falsely Claims Lab-Grown Meat Will Not Require A Label

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Twitter purports the U.S. government has “quietly legalized the sale of lab-grown chicken and meat without any labeling.”

Verdict: False

A spokesperson for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) denied the claim in an email to Check Your Fact. In addition, spokespersons for Upside Foods and Good Meat also told Check Your Fact the claim was false.

Fact Check:

Researchers working on a pre-print, not-yet-peer-reviewed study have found that lab-grown meat is “not inherently better for the environment than conventional beef,” according to an article from UC Davis. Lab-grown meat is cultivated from animal cells rather than killing animals, CBS News reported.

“A few weeks ago, while the media focused on the Titanic submarine, the government quietly legalized the sale of lab-grown chicken and meat without any labeling. This happened with very little safety review, or public discussion,” the Twitter post, viewed over one million times, purports.

The claim is false, however. The USDA approved the sale of “cell-cultivated” or lab-grown meat back in June, according to The Associated Press. Two firms, Upside Foods and Good Meat, were also approved to sell lab-grown meat to consumers, the outlet reported.

In addition, both firms said their products would carry a “cell-cultivated” label via respective press releases.

Likewise, the USDA has neither publicly mentioned the claim in statements posted to its website nor its verified social media accounts. Check Your Fact also found no credible news reports supporting the claim. (RELATED: No, The WEF Has Not Declared Humans Must Eat Feces And Drink Urine To Fight Climate Change)

A spokesperson for the USDA’s FSIS denied the claim in an email to Check Your Fact.

“FSIS thoroughly reviews every application for a grant of inspection. Applications are approved following a rigorous process, which includes assessing a firm’s food safety system. Based on this review, FSIS has issued the first three grants of inspection to establishments producing FSIS-regulated products derived from animal cells,” the spokesperson said.

“FSIS has also reviewed and approved the labels for their product to ensure that they are truthful and not misleading. After an establishment receives a grant of inspection, FSIS conducts inspection activities at the facility at least once per shift to verify the production of safe and properly labeled product. As we move forward, we will continue to work closely with FDA and with interested U.S. firms,” the spokesperson added.

In addition, David Kay, Director of Communications at Upside Foods labeled the claim as “false and inaccurate.”

“This claim is false and inaccurate. All meat and poultry products sold in the US require a label to be reviewed and approved by the US Department of Agriculture prior to commercialization,” Kay said. Kay also directed us to the press release from Upside Foods which indicated that the firm’s products would carry a “cell-cultivated” label.

A Good Meat spokesperson also quoted the firm’s press release noting that its products would carry a “cell-cultivated label.”

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter