Israeli-cultivated meat startup Aleph Farms has filed for regulatory approval to put its cell-based steak on restaurant menus in the UK, reports Bloomberg. The alt-protein producer made the application on July 21, days after applying for approval in Switzerland, which was the first such filing in Europe.
Aleph Farms, which makes cell-based whole-cut meat, is the first cultivated meat company to apply for regulatory clearance with the UK’s Food Standards Agency. It plans to start production in the UK in the next few years and is in talks with potential commercial partners.
“The strategy is to file in the UK and Switzerland which are interesting markets,” Aleph Farms CEO Didier Toubia said. “We believe the UK will take a couple of years, but the potential is huge.”
The regulatory race
Post-Brexit, the UK is reviewing novel food regulation changes that could speed up cell-based and precision fermentation approvals. However, it still relies on the European regulatory framework. No cell-based meat company has yet filed for regulatory approval in the EU, where the process can be seen as opaque and complicated.
“The EU must develop a coherent strategy to support the sustainable protein sector and ensure regulatory processes are clear, in order to reap the benefits of cultivated meat,” Seth Roberts, policy manager at GFI Europe, told Bloomberg.
Cultivated meat is grown via animal cells in bioreactors, and is seen as a cruelty-free and more sustainable alternative to meat. Cell-based chicken has been available in Singapore – a hotbed for cultivated meat – since December 2020, when Eat Just gained the world’s first such regulatory approval. And in June, the US too issued its first approval to Upside Foods and Eat Just’s Good Meat.
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