Dutch cultivated meat and seafood firms prepare for historic tastings

Leading Dutch cultivated meat and seafood companies Meatable, Mosa Meat, and Upstream Foods are welcoming the news that the Dutch Government has announced its independent expert committee to evaluate cultivated meat tastings.

The committee, which includes a toxicologist, microbiologist, physician and an ethical expert, will evaluate requests by companies to conduct tastings of cultivated meat and seafood in controlled environments, a significant step forward to enabling tastings in Europe. Now the Committee has been announced, the companies can submit their dossiers to request approval to hold tastings, a final hurdle ahead of holding the first approved cultivated meat and seafood tastings in Europe.

Krijn de Nood, co-founder and CEO at Meatable, heralded the move as another important step forward in approving cultivated meat. The Netherlands has long been the pioneer of cultivated meat which is further cemented by this latest development, and we thank the Dutch Government, Cellular Agriculture Netherlands Foundation (CANS), and HollandBIO for their joint efforts to make this possible.

“We’re delighted that we have already handed in our dossier for approval and look forward to holding our first tastings in the Netherlands soon,” de Nood said. “We can’t wait to invite people to try our delicious pork sausages and experience for themselves that it doesn’t just look and taste like meat, it is meat.”

Equally effusive, Maarten Bosch, CEO of Mosa Meat, said he is thrilled to see the protocol developed in consultation with the government is now being implemented.

“Mosa Meat will be applying soon to host the first legal tastings of our cultivated beef,” he said. “The Netherlands continues to be a global leader in sustainable food innovation, even as others in Europe appear to be taking a step backwards at the height of our climate and biodiversity crises.”

Kianti Figler, CEO of Upstream Foods, called it a pivotal moment for the Dutch cultivated meat and seafood ecosystem.

“We are dedicated to revolutionising seafood alternatives through fish fat cultivation, and this initiative empowers us to showcase our innovative approach,” Figler added.

Last year, the Netherlands launched a code of practice to make tastings possible in controlled and safe conditions, following an intervention by the Dutch House of Representatives. This made the country the first in the European Union to make pre-approvals of cultivated food tastings possible, even before an EU novel food approval, and one of only a handful that allows tastings globally including Singapore, Israel, and the US.

The parties see the news today as important to help them develop their products and enable education about cultivated meat. Tastings enable people to experience the taste and texture of this new product and understand that it looks like, tastes like, and has the same nutritional profile as traditional meat, as well as educate people about the role cultivated meat can play in meeting sustainability goals.

According to a statement issued by the companies, industry will benefit as there are over 150 cultivated meat and seafood companies aiming to reduce the impact of the food industry on the planet, which is responsible for 26% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

A study by independent research company CE Delft found that cultivated meat could reduce the meat industry’s environmental footprint by up to 92% for greenhouse gas emissions and 95% for land use.

Under the Code of Practice, cultivated food companies can hand in their dossiers, including information about their product and necessary safety documents, to apply for approval to hold tastings. The expert committee will investigate the documents and provide feedback. The committee will then approve for tastings to take place or request more information.

When approvals have been granted, the respective company is required to hold a tasting session in a controlled environment, which is suitable for food preparation and inaccessible to the general public.

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