New cultivated meat standards on menu thanks to partnership
Dr Ruth Wonfor, Aberystwyth University
09 November 2023
New safety standards for cultivated meat - a technology that could offer a sustainable alternative to livestock farming - are to be developed thanks to a new project.
Funded by Innovate UK, a new consortium between industry and academia will develop global standards for safety testing for how this meat is grown. The goal is to advance the development of global standards for food-safe growth media formulations and ingredients.
According to the Food Standards Agency, more data on safety is needed to approve these new cell-based meat products for UK consumers.
The partnership led by Multus, along with Vireo Advisors, Extracellular and Aberystwyth University, and supported by New Harvest and the British Standards Institute, will work on new safety rules for the USA, Singapore, UK and the EU.
The new project will bring stakeholders together from across the sector to develop safety testing methods that enhance the regulatory assessment of cultivated meat and advance the development of global standards.
The research could remove a significant barrier to the successful commercialisation of meat grown from animal cells by developing safe, affordable, and animal-free feedstock for its production.
This consortium of leading stakeholders will develop and substantiate safety testing methods for cell culture media ingredients, generate datasets, assess the feasibility of applying these methods to other cultivated meat inputs and initiate industry-wide standards.
Stakeholder engagement, publication in open-access journals, and dissemination by respected parties, such as the British Standards Institution and New Harvest, will support industry uptake and validation of the new methods.
Reka Tron is Chief Operating Officer at Multus, a company that aims to create a common language for cultivated meat safety with an innovative consortium of industry leadersand develops key ingredients for the affordable scale-up of cultivated meat, with the aim of positioning the UK as a global leader. She said:
“This collaborative effort will support the production of cultivated meat as an alternative to intensive animal farming. As a partnership, we will seek to remove a significant barrier to the successful commercialisation of cultivated meat with the development of safe, affordable, and animal-free media.”
“Ensuring safety is the key issue when deciding whether to allow a product to enter a market. For this reason, establishing baselines and methods for industry-scale regulatory evaluation could create new safety standards, which are essential for scaling cultivated meat.
“The project will improve regulatory and consumer confidence in cultivated meat products as a safe and sustainable source of protein, decrease the cost of regulatory approval, and promote a culture where novel technologies are shared more effectively.
Dr Ruth Wonfor from the Department of Life Sciences at Aberystwyth University said:
“Cultivated meat is on course to become part of our food supply over the next decade, with potential to grow substantially beyond that. While this outlook is promising for sustainability, we also need to ensure it meets the highest safety standards for consumers. By establishing baselines and methods for industry-scale regulatory evaluation, we could create new safety standards, which are essential for scaling cultivated meat. This new project could also make the UK a global leader in collaborative research and innovation in this important field.”
Elaine Shine from the British Standards Institute added:
“There is a clear and apparent market need for this research, ensuring the safety and public perception of novel foods development. BSI believe the proposed research solution will form a solid foundation to take forward into consensus-based standards development.”
Isha Datar from New Harvest also added:
“The future of food hinges on our competency, capability, and capacity in establishing food safety of novel foods. Cultured meat is a groundbreaking technology which will only be able to positively impact our world if it can be appropriately deemed safe. Public and private collaboration is a transparent and responsible path forward for understanding safety, and we are thrilled that UKRI aligns with us in recognising and supporting the importance of this work.”
Interested members of the public, cultivated meat companies, food regulators, government representatives and other industry stakeholders are encouraged to participate in the project. For more information, or to express an interest in participating, go to:http://eepurl.com/gjwXkP