Cultured meat is on its way to American plates – and European startups want a place in the kitchen.
In an industry milestone, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has approved two companies to sell lab-grown meat made from living animal cells.
After extraction, the cells are placed in a bioreactor and grown into muscle tissue. Finally, the meat is shaped into pieces like those found on supermarket shelves.
Proponents say the process reduces our carbon footprint and prevents animal suffering, while still producing the same meat products we know and love. It could also be big business: McKinsey forecast By 2030, the market could reach a volume of 25 billion US dollars (23 billion euros).
This market could now slowly open up. Previously only Singapore had allowed the sale of cultured meat. USDA approval brings one of the world’s largest meat consumers and producers to the table. It could also convince other countries to take a seat.
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“European companies are starting to look across the Atlantic.
In Europe, meat production startups are demanding that regulators follow the USDA’s lead. These include 3D Bio-Tissues, a NEwcastle University spin-off. In February, the company introduced the world’s first lab-grown steak fillet.
Che Connon, the company’s CEO, called the new approvals “a monumental milestone” for the industry.
“US food safety regulations are among the strictest in the world… This decision has the potential to rapidly accelerate the development of the cultured meat market in America and provides a clear framework for other countries to follow,” he said.
Cannon (centre) is both an entrepreneur and Professor of Tissue Engineering at Newcastle University. Photo credit: 3DBT
The solemn reaction was echoed meat bar, a startup based in the Netherlands. Krijn de Nood, CEO and co-founder of the company, is optimistic about developments in Europe.
“In the EU and UK we are also seeing positive support in the regulatory landscape, with governments looking to remove the barriers to the uptake of crops Meat to consumers and providing funding for innovation in food production, including cell-based foods,” he said.
However, not everyone is happy with the progress.
De Nood (left) and Meatable co-founder Daan Luining recently received approval for the tasting Singapore. Photo credit: meat bar
The regulatory breakthrough has made the US an attractive market for European meat production startups. For example, Meatable now works to secure US approval for its products.
Some industry insiders fear Europe is falling behind. The Good Food Institute, a nonprofit think tank, has urged the continent’s policymakers to catch up.
“American consumers will soon be able to taste real, farm-free chicken – so European companies are starting to look across the Atlantic to get their products to market,” said Alice Ravenscroft, chief policy officer at the non-profit Good Food Institute Europe.
“Cultivated meat has the potential to reduce emissions, increase our food security and expand consumer choice. The EU must increase its investments in this sector and ensure that regulatory processes are robust and transparent, otherwise it risks missing out on this crucial climate solution and economic opportunity.”