IFT First

FDA, industry leaders explore a streamlined path to market for cultivated protein

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty/MelanieMaya
Source: Getty/MelanieMaya

Related tags cultivated meat cell cultured meat Fda

Regulatory approval for cultivated meat products is rigorous but possible – as seen with GOOD Meat and UPSIDE Foods – and FDA is streamlining the regulatory pathway for cultivated meat and encourages companies seeking approval to engage with it “early and often” during research and development, the agency shared with FoodNavigator-USA.

FDA’s premarket consultation program, such as the Human Foods Made with Cultured Animal Cells Premarket Consultation process, engages stakeholders during the pioneering stage of development “as developers seek to identify materials and processes leading to functional products that also meet applicable requirements,” an FDA spokesperson said.

Foods must still meet safety and legal requirements under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and, in some cases, standards enforced by the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.

“Active participation in our voluntary premarket program can help firms ensure that they are meeting relevant legal obligations,” FDA said.

Along with FDA’s premarket consultation program, which “provides transparency about the products potentially on the market and the steps taken to ensure their safety,” the agency posts information specific to completed consultations on its website, including “a firm’s disclosable safety narrative, the FDA’s scientific memorandum and the FDA’s response letter,” the spokesperson said.

IFT FIRST programming explores cultivated meat production and sector growth

With the growth of cultivated meat, the FDA emphasizes the importance of rigorous, transparent and science-based food safety evaluations to ensure the safety and legality of these products.

This focus on safety aligns with the work of organizations like the Good Food Institute, a non-profit science-focused think tank focused on accelerating the production of alternative proteins, including cultivated meat.

During the upcoming IFT FIRST Annual Event and Expo in Chicago next week, GFI Founder and President, Bruce Friedrich will discuss during the session Alternative Meat: Reflecting on the First 10 Years and Anticipating More​, the sector’s trajectory of growth innovation and its potential to improve protein quality and diversity more than its conventional meat counterparts.

GFI recently released its State of Policy report​, which highlighted the US, Israel and Singapore as the top countries leading in regulation of alternative proteins. Although when it comes to R&D and commercialization funding, the US fell behind Canada, EU and Denmark.

Reza Ovissipour, assistant professor, cellular agriculture and sustainable food systems, Texas A&M University will explore cultivated meat production during his session Cellular Agriculture: Transforming Protein Production for a Sustainable Future​. The session will explore the advantages of cellular agriculture over animal-based meat on health and the environment as production processes and systems evolve, and potential benefits around taste, affordability and convenience.

'A strong national food safety system is not built state by state'

Currently, state bans of cultivated meat in Alabama and Florida, with other states proposing similar bills, contribute to a potentially disjointed regulation system. While states play a critical role in bolstering the regulation of federal food safety, “a strong national food safety system is not built state by state,” the FDA spokesperson said.

Rather, state-by-state food regulation runs the risk of consumer confusion and creating an impractical standard for the industry “because the determination of safety should be based entirely on science, and not on where you live in the US,” the spokesperson said.

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