Yesterday the Dutch government published an official letter announcing that under certain conditions it will allow the tasting of meat and seafood products grown from animal cells.
After the US and Singapore, the Netherlands is now the first country in Europe to allow the tasting of lab-grown meat, a move that has been welcomed by leading Dutch leaders in particular startups in The Field.
Collaborative competition in the field of laboratory meat
Cellular farming may not have a major impact in the food industry for many years to come. Over time, however, the breakthrough technology of growing meat in labs may be part of a much-needed solution to transforming our food systems.
There is no shortage of cultured meat startups around the world and in Europe. One of the keys to success, along with food safety and energy efficiency, is taste. In order for omnivores to prefer lab-grown meat to meat from a slaughtered animal, it has to be satisfying in terms of taste and texture.
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Until now, however, scientists in Europe have faced an enormous hurdle: they have not been able to let people actually try their products. Therefore, the move by the Dutch government to allow tastings under certain conditions is crucial to moving the burgeoning industry forward.
The legislator created the “code of conduct” in cooperation with the start-ups Meatable and Mosa Meat and the industry representative HollandBIO.
Maarten Bosch, CEO or Mosa meat which bills itself as a food technology company that makes the “best beef burgers in the world,” called the groundbreaking announcement a “huge achievement.”
“Mosa Meat will use these controlled tastings to gather invaluable feedback on our products and educate key stakeholders on the role cellular agriculture can play in helping Europe meet our food sovereignty and sustainability goals,” said Bosch.
“This is great news for the Netherlands,” said Krijn de Nood, co-founder and CEO of meat bar, with whom TNW interviewed earlier this year. He added that this means the country will maintain its leadership position in this field. “Meatable looks forward to inviting the first people to try our sausages, dumplings and pulled pork!”
We are following in the footsteps of the US and Singapore
As previously mentioned, this landmark decision makes the Netherlands the first country in Europe to allow pre-approved tastings of cultured meat. The government previously allocated €60 million to build a “cellular farming ecosystem” and turn the country into a hub for the emerging technology. It also founded the organization Cellular Farming Netherlandswhich is now tasked with overseeing the code of practice for tasting permits.
Just over a week ago, the US approved the sale of cell-derived chicken from startups Upside Foods and Good Meat, both based in California. Singapore, where Meatable also held the first public tasting of its farmed pork products earlier this year, has been at the forefront of regulation.
The city-state established an expert working group on novel food safety in March 2020 and approved the first product (Eat Just bred chicken) for sale in November of the same year. Meatable has decided to establish an office in Singapore and plans to invest over EUR 60 million over the next five years and employ more than 50 people there.
Meanwhile, Mosa Meat opened a new 2,760 square meter scale-up facility in Maastricht, the Netherlands, earlier this May. When it comes to solving one of the root causes of climate change and stopping the killing of more than 70 billion land animals every year, a little healthy competition never hurts.