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For the first time, three leading cultivated food industry associations are hosting a first-of-its-kind meeting this week in Singapore to formalize the launch of a global alliance to advance cultivated foods on the global stage.
The alliance is made up of the U.S.-based Alliance for Meat, Poultry, and Seafood Innovation (AMPS Innovation), the APAC Society for Cellular Agriculture (APAC-SCA), and Cellular Agriculture Europe (CAE) and represents 31 of the leading cultivated meat, seafood, and dairy companies. According to alternative protein think tank the Good Food Institute’s database, there are currently more than 120 startups working on cultivated food globally, and collectively they have raised over $2 billion in funding to recreate animal protein at a fraction of the emissions, water and land cost of industrial agriculture.
In an email statement, Mirte Gosker, Managing Director of GFI APAC, told Green Queen that “global challenges require global solutions. By bringing together regional industry coalitions from Europe, the US, and Asia Pacific, this timely, new worldwide alliance has the potential to be a game-changer.”
Historic Meeting at SIAW
At a meeting held during Singapore International Agri-Food Week (SIAW), the leaders and management committees of each organization, including Sandhya Sriram Ph.D., APAC-SCA (Shiok Meats), Robert E. Jones, Cellular Agriculture Europe (Mosa Meat) and David Tonucci Ph.D., AMPS Innovation (SCiFi Foods), will discuss how to better leverage the new tripartite alliance to push forward regional synergies, better advocate for regulatory frameworks and communicate more effectively about the benefits of cellular agriculture.
SIAW, a week-long series of food and agriculture industry events where regulators, investors, startups, MNCs, and other stakeholders are gathering from all over the world to showcase the latest developments and products, offers the perfect backdrop and timing for this historic meeting.
Urgent Need For Cultivated Food Regulation
Currently, Singapore remains the only country in the world that allows for the sale of cultivated meat. Californian company Eat Just was granted regulatory approval for its cell-based chicken back in December 2020 by the nation-state’s government and since then, there has been little progress in other geographies.
“Unfortunately, current regulations for alternative proteins lag behind consumer demand and few standardized best practices or technical recommendations have so far been implemented,” says Gosker.
“Establishing consistent, efficient, and science-based global regulatory frameworks for cultivated foods is critical to maximizing the sector’s potential to mitigate environmental degradation, strengthen food security, and alleviate global poverty.”
Ira Van Eelen, co-founder of KindEarth.Tech and a key figure in the world of cultivated meat, agrees that a cohesive global alliance is necessary for further progress. “This is a smart move and another sign of the maturing of the cultivated meat industry. As regulations are developed around the world, their [the industry’s] voices will be more powerful together and there is a lot that they can learn from each other in building the regional ecosystems it will take to scale up and support a thriving industry,” she told Green Queen via email.
Van Eelen is the daughter of Willem Van Eelen, the Dutch scientist who pioneered cell-based meat technology. The rights to his work were later acquired via patent by Eat Just.
A New, United Voice To Advocate For Novel Foods
The new alliance hopes to have a united voice at the upcoming COP27 event and engage more strategically with the likes of Codex Alimentarius (Food Code), a joint effort between the UN Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) designed to create international food standards.
In March 2022, the Codex Alimentarius Commission issued a call for comments after recognizing the need for the development and production of foods like cultivated meat and said it plans to use the feedback to conduct an “assessment of the range and suitability of Codex tools that could be used to progress work on safety, quality, labeling, nutrition and/or fair trade practices” for such novel foods.
Cellular agriculture is one of the pillars of the alternative protein industry, which also includes plant-based analogues and fermentation-enabled technologies and counts over 1,000 startups and companies working to reduce the ill effects of industrial animal agriculture. As the global food system faces unprecedented challenges from an energy crisis to water shortages to supply chain woes and the worsening effects of climate change, new means of food production are essential for future food security. As the global population nears 8 billion this November and experts predict 9.7 billion by 2050, alternative proteins provide a sustainable, ethical and healthy solution to the growing demand for animal protein.
Lead image courtesy of Higher Steaks and Tailored Brands.