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Research: Is cell-based meat a threat or an opportunity for UK farmers?

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The Telegraph has reported that the UK government is working to fast-track regulatory approval for cell-based meat to boost food security and sustainability.


Ministers and regulators are working to accelerate approval of the novel food to ease the cost of living and provide more sustainable sources of meat as the global population grows.


Currently, no cell-based meat is authorised for sale in the UK. However, The Telegraph has reported that the UK government is poised to sign a bilateral agreement to boost collaboration on cell-based meat with Israel, a country at the forefront of the movement.


The Food Standards Agency is also said to be considering future changes to the approval process of cell-based meat to remove unnecessary burdens on businesses.


UK science minister, George Freeman, said: “With nine billion hungry mouths to feed by 2050 – we’re going to have to generate novel sources. If we don’t quickly generate ways to develop very low-cost protein, we’re going to see huge geographical instability.”


Last year, the UK Government Food Strategy supported alt-protein innovation and set out an ambition to "keep the UK at the front of this growing and innovative sector". In August, Israeli startup Aleph Farms submitted an application to sell its cell-based beef in the UK, under a process that is expected to take at least 18 months.


Linus Pardoe, UK policy manager at GFI Europe, commented: "The science minister is right: alternative proteins like cultivated meat will be transformative for national and global food security. Collaborating with other nations to accelerate their development can help the UK's burgeoning cultivated meat sector grow, delivering more choice for consumers and creating new green jobs. Sharing information and best practices between regulators internationally will help smooth the path to market for cultivated meat companies and maintain the highest standards of food safety.”


He continued: "It's great to see the government recognising that optimising regulations will build confidence in the UK as a priority market for alternative proteins. But the Chancellor must urgently provide the financial resources the FSA needs to deliver those reforms with a £30 million uplift in the FSA's budget in the upcoming Autumn Statement."


Last month, the GFI called for the UK government to invest £390 million in alt-proteins by 2030, including funding open-access research, business grants and a new sustainable protein catapult to support small businesses in the alternative protein sector.


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UK to fast-track approval of cell-based meat with Israel deal

Phoebe Fraser

2 October 2023

UK to fast-track approval of cell-based meat with Israel deal

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