The move makes the UK just the second European country to receive such an application, with the first also submitted by Aleph Farms in Switzerland at the end of July.
Before cultivated meat is permitted to be sold in the UK, Aleph Farms’ products must be approved by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) following an assessment process that could take up to 18 months to complete.
The UK novel food regulatory framework mirrors that used in the EU after the laws were assimilated following Brexit.
Tomorrow (Saturday 5 August) also marks the 10th anniversary of first-ever cultivated beef burger being presented in London by Dutch scientist Dr Mark Post.
Cultivated meat in the UK
Good Food Institute (GFI) Europe hailed the news as a “huge opportunity” for the UK to enhance food security and create green jobs, while calling on the Government to remain focused on novel food regulatory reforms that could see the approval process expedited.
Speaking to Food Manufacture, GFI Europe managing director Alex Mayers explained the potential environmental benefits of cultivated meat being made available in the UK.
“Currently, cultivated meat is up to 92% lower in emissions than industrial animal agriculture, 90% less land is used and 94% less air pollution is caused,” he said.
UK demand exists
Cultivated meat has been on sale in Singapore since 2020 and was approved in the US earlier this year. While the first burger cooked in London back in 2013 was worth $250,000, a cultivated chicken skewer can now be bought in Singapore for $14.
Mayers believes that once the technology arrives in the UK, the demand will be strong provided that the cultivated products taste good, are priced fairly and are convenient to buy.
“Finding technological solutions to make sure these products are as tasty as possible is critical, but this has huge potential due to the ability to control the ingredients more closely than you can in traditional animal agriculture,” he said.
“In the UK and US, 80% of consumers said they were open to eating cultivated meat. There is a lot of evidence across Europe that it is something people want to buy.”