By Kim Berry | November 2, 2022
Food products grown directly from animal cells will be officially referred to as ‘cultured’, after APAC’s leading cell agriculture players reach agreement and sign a Memorandum of Understanding at a regional symposium in Singapore.
Australian industry organizations Food Frontier and Cellular Agriculture Australia and cultured meat company magic valley joined over 30 key industry participants for the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This means that the region will align with the use of the term ‘cultured’ as the preferred descriptor in English for food products grown directly from animal cells.
Jane Sydenham-Clarke, CEO of Food Frontier, said: “As emerging protein innovations move closer to market launch in our region, it is fantastic to see the unity within the agriculture sector. APAC cell around the name of these foods.
“Food Frontier’s work is focused on building public understanding and trust in new foods like cultured meat and having a common language across the sector helps us collectively get that message across to all stakeholders. “
APAC Society for Cellular Agriculture President, Dr. Sandhya Sriram, and Program Director, Peter Yu, said, “Bennumenla and regulatory harmonization are essential for the long-term success of the industry. of cultured foods and this memorandum of understanding sets a regional precedent that can be replicated in other markets around. the globe.”
The Good Food Institute (GFI) APAC said signatories include almost all food startups grown in Asia-Pacific, including those dedicated to meat, seafood, dairy and animal fats.
The purpose of the MOU is to reduce the risk of miscommunication between regulators and stakeholders, and for signatories to “align with clear, science-based messaging strategies, so that products grown from animal cells can reach their full potential for improving food security, mitigating environmental risks of degradation and reducing global poverty”.
Regional coalition groups, including APAC Society for Cellular Agriculture, China Alliance for Cellular Agriculture, Japan Association for Cellular Agriculture and Korean Society for Cellular Agriculture, also signed the memorandum. of agreement.
Others include Future Ready Food Safety Hub (FRESH) – the organization jointly launched by the Food Agency of Singapore, A*STAR and Nanyang Technological University – and multinationals Cargill and Thai Union.
“It is important to note that this is also a scientifically precise term that clearly distinguishes foods grown from animal cells from other existing products on the market,” the MOU said.
The announcement was made in Singapore during the Singapore International Food Week (SIAW), with Good Food Institute APAC chief executive Mirte Gosker saying the location of the announcement was no coincidence.
“In recent years, Singapore has invested the necessary resources to make the city-state a welcoming ecosystem for food innovation and multilateral collaboration.
“This MoU is the latest proof that Lion City is trading its traditional reliance on food imports for a new role as the place where the biggest decisions in the alternative protein industry are forged, announced and exported around the world,” Gosker said.
Singapore is the world’s largest cultured meat market and has been a world leader in the development of cultured meat, largely out of necessity.
The country imports 90% of its food, but in 2019 set a 30:30 target to make the country 30% self-sufficient by 2030 through new food production technologies – such as meat cultivated, vertical farming and aquaculture.
In 2020, the Singapore Food Agency was the first in the world to approve cultured meat – Eat Just’s Cultured Chicken Nuggets in the US – claiming the product met its food safety standards and was safe for human consumption.
GFI APAC said the country has played a key role as a test bed for novel foods.
“The Republic has actively shared its new food experiences through multinational initiatives led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Codex Alimentarius Commission – a joint body of FAO and of the World Health Organization dedicated to developing global food standards,” it said.
Australia’s cultured meat industry is small but vibrant. VOW recently opened its first commercial facility, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, with a second already underway that will be around 100 times larger than the first. It looks set to launch its first commercial product in Singapore by the end of the year.
And in September, Magic Valley announced that it had created a prototype of farmed lamb meat.