China and U.S. Discuss Best Regulatory Processes for Cultivated Meat
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In a sign that widespread regulatory approval for cultivated meat is imminent, regulatory experts from the U.S. and China met to discuss the next steps.
A recent virtual event organized by the AgFood Future Center of Excellence (AGF) and the Agriculture Food Partnership (AFP), saw the meeting between China and the U.S. regulators come just after Upside Foods became the first cultivated meat producer to earn U.S. FDA GRAS status (generally recognized as safe).
The event saw Jeremiah Fasano, senior policy advisor at the FDA’s Regulatory Review Office, deliver a keynote address. Fasano encouraged the industry to connect “early and often” to keep the sector moving forward.
‘Preparing public guidelines for the industry’
“FDA is communicating with different companies, and we are preparing public guidelines for the industry,” Fasano said. “As companies engage with more regulators, more reviews and approvals get completed, adding to the global body of knowledge to jointly promote food technology innovation and food safety.”
Ryan Xue, chairman of Agfood Future, says the meetings provide vital opportunities for “all players involved” in the protein innovation sector including the start-ups producing the meat and their financiers. “This in-depth sharing between the U.S. and China will have far-reaching significance for governments and industries interested in seeing the adoption of food innovation that will help shape food innovation and the future of food in the U.S., China and the world,” Xue said.
China says it will focus on safety assessments of cultivated meat this year. “In addition, 2023 plans include setting up expert working groups to ensure innovation, industry development, and food safety move forward together,” said Yan Song, director of Division III Risk Assessment at CFSA.
Regulatory approval for cultivated meat
Currently, Singapore is the only country in the world that’s approved the sale and consumption of cultivated meat. It granted Bay Area food tech company Eat Just regulatory approval for its cultivated chicken in 2020.
The GRAS status granted to Upside Foods, another Bay Area cultivated meat producer, is the first step in the U.S. toward receiving approval. The meat must also receive USDA approval.
According to Wired, the GRAS status came through a “premarket consultation process,” during which “food manufacturers provide the FDA with details of their production process and the product it creates, and once the FDA is satisfied that the process is safe, it then issues a ‘no further questions’ letter.”