Israel Paves Way For Cultivated Meat With World’s First Regulatory Approval

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News in brief:
-  Israel is the first country to approve the sale of cell-based beef steaks, a significant move in establishing itself as a leader in the commercialisation of cultivated meat.
– Aleph Farms, the Israeli startup behind the approved product, managed to address ethical concerns by avoiding the controversial fetal bovine serum ingredient.

Israel has become the first country in the world to grant regulatory approval for the sale of cultivated meat. This landmark decision will likely pave the way for wider commercialisation of cell-based meat, a technology poised to revolutionise the food production system.

Israeli startup Aleph Farms received a ‘no questions’ letter from the Ministry of Health in December 2023, according to a press release on the company’s website. This means that its cultivated beef product, Aleph Cuts, is safe for consumption and marks a significant milestone, as it surpasses existing approvals for cultivated chicken meat in the United States. It also solidifies Israel’s position as a leader in the field.

Aleph Cuts are cultivated from cattle cells and they offer an alternative to conventional meat production. By focusing on beef, the company targets a high-value segment of the global protein market with a view to accelerating the path towards price competitiveness.

Notably, this is also the first regulatory approval for any cultivated meat product in the Middle East, underscoring Israel’s pioneering role in the region.

Meantime, the company’s cultivated beef is developed using cells from premium Black Angus cows, incorporating soy and wheat proteins but notably avoiding the controversial ingredient fetal bovine serum (FBS). Eliminating FBS, often sourced from the meat processing industry, aligns with industry efforts to address ethical concerns and potentially reduce production costs.

FBS is popular in the lab-grown meat field because of its high content of embryonic growth-promoting factors. However, it is controversial because it often sourced from fetuses extracted from pregnant cows slaughtered in the meat industry, which negates the ‘slaughter-free’ claim of companies in this industry. Also, some religious groups prohibit the consumption of products derived from dead animals, making FBS-based lab-grown meat incompatible with their dietary restrictions.

CEO of Aleph Farms, Didier Toubia, speaking on the approval, said that his team believes that addressing joint challenges like food security is the best way to ensure the prosperity of the Middle East and other parts of the world that rely heavily on massive food imports.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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