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(LifeSiteNews) — The United States has become the second country in the world to approve “cell-based” chicken for public consumption, joining Singapore, who legalized the experimental food in 2020. The U.S. Department of Agriculture gave the green light for the controversial product, which is backed by Bill Gates, earlier this week.

Billed as a major tool in the fight against “climate change,” so-called “cultivated chicken” is grown in a lab. The costly process involves extracting stem cells and giving them a nutrient-dense bath in vitamins, minerals, salt, and even soy inside a steel bioreactor. An average batch takes about two weeks to harvest. 

Proponents argue that the controlled, indoor environment ensures sanitation standards are more easily met, and that the alleged harmful effects of raising animals on a farm are avoided entirely. Critics question not only its moral aspects but its purported nutritional benefits as well.

“I’d rather eat my shoe than lab-grown meat,” dietitian Diana Rodgers told The New York Post Wednesday. TV personality chef Andrew Gruel called it “a junk product” filled with “additives.” 

On average, Americans eat 8 billion chickens per year. At present, two California-based companies create lab-grown poultry — Upside Foods and Good Meat, a division of Eat Just Incorporated. Upside was founded in 2015 by a former Mayo Clinic cardiologist. 

According to multiple media outlets, Bill Gates is among the investors in both Upside Foods and East Just, which began selling synthetic eggs to retail stores in 2019. Gates has backed an array of other companies pushing genetically modified food as well, including Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. 

Upside’s Chief Operating Officer Amy Chen spoke with Fox News host Neil Cavuto earlier this week about the USDA’s approval and the future of “cultivated food.” 

“Long term I’ll tell you there’s the potential for us to modify the nutritional [value], so you can imagine a steak that has the nutritional profile of a salmon. But for now, we’re focused on just matching what you expect from a conventional chicken or a conventional cow,” she said. 

The growth of synthetic meats and plant-based products have caused many health experts and concerned citizens across the world to worry about the future of food. Spokespersons for the World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset” have long touted them as advantageous to mankind, while others believe they are just another way for global elites to seize control of the food chain and poison human beings.

A recent report from CBS News confirmed that many additives in U.S. foods are absent from European products, and that Americans are “almost certainly” getting sick as a result of them. 

It will likely take years for so-called cultivated food to arrive at your corner grocery stores, as the price is simply too high. For now, the industry plans to roll it out at select restaurants across the U.S. and go from there.