SWITZERLANDA pioneering stride has been taken in the world of cultivated meat as Aleph Farms, an Israeli-based start-up, submits the first-ever cultivated meat approval application in Europe to Swiss regulators.

This groundbreaking move comes as a result of Aleph Farms’ collaboration with Switzerland’s largest supermarket and meat manufacturer, Migros, a partnership that holds significant potential for the future of sustainable protein.

In partnership with Migros, Aleph Farms embarked on a journey that encompasses consumer research in Switzerland and navigating the intricate landscape of the country’s novel foods regulations. This milestone achievement is a testament to the potential of cultivated meat to revolutionize the way meat is produced, consumed, and perceived.

Seth Roberts, Policy Manager at the Good Food Institute Europe, applauds Switzerland for leading the charge in cultivated meat adoption, emphasizing the environmental benefits and potential for sustainable farming that it holds.

He points out that cultivated meat could not only provide more food security for Switzerland but also create jobs that are future-proof.

“Once approved by regulators, Swiss consumers will be able to enjoy their favourite beef dishes, made in a way that could slash climate emissions and create space for more sustainable farming,” Seth said.

Regulatory journey, mixed messages

The Swiss regulatory system, known for its robust and evidence-based approach, requires companies to seek authorization from the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) through a safety dossier submission. This process is expected to take around 12 months.

While Switzerland forges ahead, the European Union is yet to define a comprehensive strategy for the burgeoning cultivated meat sector.

Seth Roberts raises a compelling observation: the absence of cultivated meat applications in the EU. While some European countries like the Netherlands invest in this future of food, others, like Italy, have sought to ban it.

This lack of a coherent approach raises the importance of establishing regulatory clarity and certainty to fully harness the potential of cultivated meat.

Cultivated meat’s arrival

As the application enters the regulatory pipeline, Professor Chris Elliot from Queens University Belfast underscores the cautious optimism surrounding cultivated meat’s market entry.

With its potential environmental benefits and transformational impact on the food industry, the cultivated meat sector faces challenges in earning broad consumer acceptance and substantiating its claims of sustainability.

The submission by Aleph Farms to Swiss regulators marks a significant stride towards reshaping the meat industry. As the landscape evolves, it is not only about innovation in the lab but also about navigating regulations, fostering consumer acceptance, and making sustainable choices that could revolutionize the way we approach food.

According to research conducted jointly by Aleph Farms and Migros, 74% of Swiss consumers are open to trying cultivated meat and are motivated to try it chiefly by curiosity and a desire to align with principles like sustainability and animal welfare.

Later this year, the company plans to launch Aleph Cuts in Singapore and Israel in limited quantities and offer tasting experiences curated with select partners, pending regulatory approvals.

Previously, Aleph Farms, in partnership with Enzymit biotech company, launched a new processing aid for animal-free serum in the form of insulin-like proteins to support cell growth in cultivated meat processing.

According to Aleph Farms, developing more suitable processing aids for the production of cultivated meat is imperative for driving economies of scale and taking cultivated meat mainstream.

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