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Physicians Committee Encourages the “Poultry Capital of the World” and other Poultry-Producing Areas to Start the Transition to Cell-Cultivated Chicken

The nonprofit public health organization, Physicians Committee, is contacting decision-makers in Gainesville, Ga., the “poultry capital of the world” and other poultry-producing areas to encourage them to start the transition to cell-cultivated chicken meat. The poultry industry is evolving due to technological advances, and slaughter-free meat grown in bioreactors will become the norm.

The Physicians Committee, which has about 17,000 doctor members nationwide, says a shift to cell-cultivated meat will mean enhanced food safety, among other benefits. If chicken meat is obtained without raising and slaughtering birds, there’s less exposure to dangerous pathogens like E. coli which originates in the intestines of living animals. Some strains of E. coli can cause severe illness in people, according to the World Health Organization.

In November of 2022, the Food and Drug Administration determined that cell-cultivated chicken is safe to eat, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has also given the go-ahead. People can now sample cultivated chicken in restaurants—it’s available in San Francisco at Bar Crenn, and at one of Jose Andres’s restaurants in Washington, DC, China Chilcano.

Andrew Noyes of Good Meat told the Washington Post, “Launching our cultivated chicken in a restaurant setting is the perfect way to introduce consumers to real meat that’s made in a whole new way. Being able to do that with José Andrés, one of the most respected chefs in the world, is a dream come true.”

Upside Foods will soon open a new 187,000-square-foot facility near Chicago for the large-scale production of cell-cultivated meat, starting with chicken nuggets, chicken sausages and patties. Illinois governor JB Pritzker is welcoming the new enterprise enthusiastically as it will provide good-paying jobs and help create a sustainable future.

Looking into the future of food production, one of the largest meat companies in the U.S., Cargill, invested $400 million in Upside Foods for the manufacture of cell-cultivated meat, according to CNBC.

For people sitting down to a chicken dinner, cell-cultivated flesh would likely be indistinguishable from slaughtered chicken because this new product is grown from cells from a living bird. This genuine chicken meat is grown in bioreactors using a special growth medium, and it’s a huge technological advancement that has taken many years to develop. 

The current U.S. poultry industry is dominated by a few large companies like Pilgrim’s Pride which is a subsidiary of the Brazilian company JBS. These companies often respond to consumer demand and create new products like Tyson’s plant-based chicken nuggets. As the technology advances, it’s likely these companies will introduce new products using cell-cultivated meat.

Contract chicken farmers face many challenges, and it’s important for the government to provide grants and other assistance if poultry producers would like to switch to growing crops. In West Virginia, Mike Weaver believes he can earn more money and hire more workers as he grows crops in former chicken houses. Craig Watts in North Carolina raised chickens for Perdue for many years, but now he’s a mushroom farmer. Mushrooms are a healthful source of protein, fiber, vitamin D, and other nutrients.

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