Regulatory approval in Europe for cultured meat and seafood is hotly anticipated
Cultured meat and seafood promise much in the way of being a healthier, more climate-friendly and animal-friendly alternative to conventional meat and fish. But when will Europeans finally be eating it?
“Where cultured meat is concerned, Singapore has led the way by granting approval for cultured chicken back in 2020 and the dam is about to break elsewhere,” Mathilde Alexandre, Cell-Ag Project Coordinator at food awareness organisation, ProVeg International, said.
“In fact, the product approved in Singapore was a hybrid product composed of 70% cultivated chicken and 30% plant-based ingredients. These hybrid products present a huge opportunity to accelerate market entry by combining plant-based with cultivated ingredients and can respond faster to consumer demand for tasty, healthy, sustainable and ethical alternatives to conventional animal products.
“Hybrid food products could serve as a long-term strategy on the path to perfecting the functionality and cost of cultivated meat,” Alexandre said.
Hannah Lester, CEO of Amgen Regulatory Consulting and Head of Regulatory Affairs at Gourmey, which is developing cultured foie gras, spoke at ProVeg International’s New Food Conference in late September on the timing of regulatory approvals and the challenges to overcome before people can enjoy cultured meat and seafood.
“2023 will certainly not be the year cultivated meat is available in the EU. I believe we will see approval in Europe in 2025/2026. But on the positive side, I am confident we will see approvals in the US in 2023,” Lester said.
Sebastian Rakers, CEO of Bluu Seafood, expects cultured meat rather than cultured seafood to win regulatory approval first in Europe.
“Cultivated meat has a longer development history than cultivated fish and will therefore most likely achieve regulatory approval a bit earlier,” Rakers said.
“The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is working on cultivated proteins, but so far the approval process is not ultimately defined, and ratification will take at least 18-24 months,” he added.
But when approval is gained, Rakers expects products from cellular agriculture to be a huge success because of the environmental credentials of products.
“There is a great awareness of the need to change the way we eat if we want to survive on this planet. Our cultivated fish comes GMO-free and with the same taste, mouthfeel and nutritious profile as wild caught fish but without harming the animal or endangering the marine ecosystem any further. It is also definitely more sustainable in production than the conventional fishing industry and thus is a viable answer to anyone interested in a more sustainable future of food production,” he said.
Notes to Editors
For media inquiries, email Mathilde Alexandre or Peter Rixon at [email protected]
About ProVeg International
ProVeg International is a food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing animal-based products with plant-based and cultured alternatives.
ProVeg works with decision-making bodies, companies, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less reliant on animal agriculture and more sustainable for all humans, animals, and our planet.
ProVeg has offices in nine countries across four continents and is active around the world. ProVeg has permanent observer status with the UNFCCC, special consultative status with ECOSOC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award.