First European application for the sale of cell-based meat
Israel-based cellular agriculture company Aleph Farms has submitted an application for regulatory approval to the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) with the goal of selling the world’s first cell-based beef steaks in Switzerland.
The submission is part of Aleph’s collaboration with Migros, Switzerland’s largest food enterprise, which has been instrumental in assessing the country’s regulatory approval process.
The Swiss regulatory system includes a robust and evidence-based process for determining novel food safety. For cell-based meat to be sold in Switzerland, companies like Aleph Farms must apply for authorisation from the FSVO by submitting a safety dossier. The process includes a safety assessment and extensive toxicological studies to demonstrate the safety of the food and is expected to take at least 12 months.
Migros first invested in Aleph Farms in 2019 to help accelerate scale-up, go-to-market activities and the global commercialisation of Aleph Cuts worldwide. As part of their agreement, Aleph Farms and Migros will continue to develop a go-to-market strategy that involves the distribution and commercialisation of Aleph Cuts through fine dining food service channels in Switzerland.
Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms, said: “At Aleph Farms, we carefully consider partnerships that reflect our core values and sustainability commitments. Together with Migros, we are establishing the cow cell as the third category of food products from cattle, alongside beef and milk. We look forward to working closely with Switzerland's Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office to enable access to both high-quality nutrition and world-changing innovation.”
Together, the companies have conducted “extensive” consumer research in Switzerland and navigated the country’s regulatory landscape for novel foods. According to the companies’ research, 74% of Swiss consumers are open to trying cell-based meat and are motivated to try it chiefly by curiosity and a desire to align with principles like sustainability and animal welfare.
Acceptance by Swiss consumers – who Aleph Farms says are “known for a quality-conscious attitude towards food” – could contribute further to cell-based meat’s growing momentum worldwide.
Later in the year, Aleph Farms plans to launch its steaks in Singapore and Israel in limited quantities, offering exclusive tasting experiences, pending regulatory approvals.
Seth Roberts, policy manager at the Good Food Institute Europe, said: “It’s fantastic to see Switzerland leading the way for cultivated meat in Europe. 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.”
He continued: “This news should spur the UK on as it considers reforming its novel foods regulatory framework post-Brexit. Several British cultivated meat companies are making great progress but are considering launching their products overseas. The Food Standards Authority should accelerate constructive conversations with industry, scientific experts and consumer groups to inform a trusted, innovative framework for sustainable proteins that enables them to deliver on their climate benefits.”