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Bene Meat gets EU approval for pet food made from cell-based meat

Bene Meat gets EU approval for pet food made from cell-based meat

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A new EU-funded think-tank, FEASTS (Fostering European Cellular Agriculture for Sustainable Transition Solution), launched last week.

The collaborative research programme aims to deliver a comprehensive, unbiased knowledge base about cell-based meat and seafood, and their place in the food system. It will focus on sustainability by design, an interdisciplinary approach and knowledge sharing.

The initiative will be conducted by a consortium of 36 independent institutions from 17 countries including universities and research institutes, start-ups, business accelerators, independent consultants, international food innovation initiatives, representatives of farmers and aquafarmers, and a consumer association.

Over the next three years, participants will research the technologies involved in the sustainable production of cell-based meat and seafood, investigating nutritional, health and regulatory aspects, as well as issues of food safety.

US-based cultured seafood start-up Wildtype's cell-based salmon
US-based cultured seafood start-up Wildtype's cell-based salmon

The initiative will also address ethical questions connected with the novel proteins, with environmental, economic and social life cycle analysis and expand the understanding of the multi-dimensional impact of cell-ag on the environment and the food value chain.

Marja-Liisa Meurice, director, EIT Food North and East region, (one of the programme’s partners), said: “Growing demand for protein along with the substantial environmental footprint of traditional animal farming means we need to look for sustainable sources of complementary proteins, which is exactly what FEASTS is doing. We are looking to identify the most sustainable, economically viable technologies, and to establish their place in the European Union’s (EU) food system.”

She added: “We want our findings to ultimately serve as a decision support tool for informed policy and decision-making in the EU.”

Inviting input from food system stakeholders, FEASTS will provide a forum for open and informed discussion about the role of cell-ag in meeting the growing demand for sustainable proteins.

UK-based cell-based pork start-up Uncommon's cultured bacon
UK-based cell-based pork start-up Uncommon's cultured bacon

FEASTS will explore how cell-based meat and seafood technologies can contribute to the future of farming. As all cell-ag products require the contribution of traditional agriculture, FEASTS will actively involve farmers in designing processes and future scenarios that will generate fair economic returns for them.

Another topic of study will be the impact on consumers. Knowledge gaps regarding nutrition and food safety will be addressed with transparency, while workshops and focus group studies will put consumer preferences and the diverse food cultures of Europe at the centre of research on the acceptance of new products on tables across the EU.

One of the goals of FEASTS is to establish a stewardship model for the EU's cell-based meat and seafood sector and support its future competitiveness. It hopes to create a framework for sustainable production resulting in safe, nutritious and widely accessible cultured products available to all consumers.

Frederico Ferreira, FEASTS project manager and coordinator from Instituto Superior Técnico, Lisbon, commented: “Our aim with FEASTS, which has been designed as a think-tank, is to expand the knowledge related to cultivated meat and seafood so we can future-proof protein supply. We are focused on responsible innovation and principles of open science to ensure data-sharing, reproducibility and, ultimately, access to the project’s findings by key stakeholders.”

He concluded: “We also welcome input from any institutions operating in the food system which are not yet part of the project. Together, we will create a unique opportunity for an effective reorganisation of the food system and the establishment of resilient value chains in the EU.”


EU-funded programme ‘FEASTS’ launches to research the potential of cell-based meat and seafood

Phoebe Fraser

6 February 2024

EU-funded programme ‘FEASTS’ launches to research the potential of cell-based meat and seafood

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