Dutch Food Tech Companies Celebrate Government Approval of Cultivated Meat and Seafood Tastings
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Cultivated meat tastings will be given the green light in the Netherlands, marking a significant milestone for the country that launched the category more than a decade ago.
The Netherlands is the birthplace of cultivated meat; the first cultivated beef burger patty was created by Mark Post at Maastricht University in 2013. Post would go on to launch the cultivated meat company Mosa Meat. But despite the country’s significant history in the category, The Netherlands currently prohibits the sale or consumption of cultivated meat prior to an EU novel foods approval.
The ruling isn’t just a restriction on the sale or distribution of cultivated meat; it applies to any consumer tastings events.
Along with cultivated meat producers Meatable and Mosa Meat and sector representative HollandBIO, the Dutch government has now created a ‘code of practice’ that would make tastings possible in controlled environments.
Tastings imminent in The Netherlands
In approach by the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sport. In 2022, a motion overwhelmingly passed in the House of Representatives to compel the relevant ministries to consult with cultivated meat companies on a path forward for safe and controlled tastings. And now, according to RTL Nieuws, the long-awaited endorsement from the Cabinet appears to be on the horizon. As a result, the first official cultivated meat tastings are expected to take place later this year.
“Of course, every food producer wants to ensure that his meat can be tasted first. And only then will you bring it to the market, because you naturally want it to taste good,” Dutch MP Tjeerd de Groot told RTL Nieuws.
“Especially because it is a Dutch invention,” VVD colleague Peter Valstar told the Dutch news outlet. “It started with Wim van Eelen in the 1950s and in 2013 it resulted in the first Dutch cultured meat burger.”
De Groot expressed enthusiasm over the progress. “Finally, after five years, [cultivated meat tastings] seem to have arrived. Once upon a time, the Netherlands was a pioneer, but we fell behind. I hope we can now catch up and reclaim our leading role in this field.”
Mosa CEO Maarten Bosch said: “This is a great achievement for the Dutch government and another proof point that the Netherlands is a global leader in agriculture and food innovation. We thank all 123 members of the Tweede Kamer who voted in favor of finding a way to make this possible and Minister Kuipers, Minister Adema and their teams for being professional and collaborative in getting it done. Mosa Meat will use these controlled tastings to gather invaluable feedback on our products and to educate key stakeholders about the role cellular agriculture can play in helping Europe meet our food sovereignty and sustainability goals.”
European cultivated meat regulatory approval not likely soon
While the imminent change in legislation is a positive step forward, full regulatory approval for the commercial sale of cultivated meat isn’t expected anytime soon. The process is a lengthy one, involving a comprehensive risk assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and final approval from the European Commission, along with representatives from all member states of the European Union.
The EFSA recently organized an event to review the latest data on cultivated meat, coinciding with the regulatory U.S. approval received by Upside Foods and Good Meat for their cultivated chicken. This development suggests that European authorities may be contemplating a more innovative approach to regulation.
Krijn de Nood of Meatable told RTL News that he is “longingly” eager to taste his product.
“We think that what we make now is already tasty, but we want to make sure that what we make is good for the consumer,” he said.