Israel approves Aleph Farms’ cell-cultured beef in world first

1 Feb 2024

Israel has granted the first regulatory approval for the commercial sale of cultivated beef, joining the US and Singapore in officially recognising cultivated meat’s role towards protein diversification.

In a world first, Aleph Farms received a ‘No Questions’ letter from the country’s Ministry of Health (MoH) signalling the go-ahead for the company to commercialise its products in Israel.

Israel approves Aleph Farms’ cell-cultured beef in world first
© iStock/Firn

Aleph Farms also revealed that it had filed for regulatory approval in Singapore, Switzerland, the UK and the US, and was “advancing its applications” in other markets.

“With its global leadership in cellular agriculture, Israel continues to push for greater regional integration and economic collaboration, which will be crucial for stabilizing the region,” said Didier Toubia, CEO and co-founder of Aleph Farms.

“We believe that addressing joint challenges like food security is the best way to ensure the prosperity of the Middle East and other parts of the world that rely heavily on massive food imports, especially in Asia.”

First cultivated chicken ingredient approval for GOOD Meat in Singapore

The news signals the first ever such approval for non-chicken cultivated meat anywhere in the world and is also the first for cultivated meat of any kind in the Middle East.

It also follows the announcement in Dec 2020 of the first regulatory approval for a cultivated chicken ingredient from US firm GOOD Meat – the cultivated meat division of Eat Just – in Singapore.

Later, GOOD Meat and another US-based firm UPSIDE Foods received regulatory approval in the US for their respective cultivated chicken products.

The first Aleph Farm product to be introduced to diners in Israel — the cultivated Petit Steak — is made of non-modified, non-immortalized cells of a premium Black Angus cow, as well as a plant protein matrix made of soy and wheat.

Aside from starter cells that come from one of the Black Angus cow’s fertilized eggs, there are zero animal-derived components (ie no foetal bovine serum) in the cultivation process and the final product.

No antibiotics are used in production, nor are any present in the final product, added Aleph Farms, who go onto highlight the “controlled and traceable process, including an aseptic production environment, increases transparency and greatly reduces any risk of contamination.”

Vital Meat submits novel food regulatory application to Singapore

Efforts by the EU to keep pace with regulatory change have been slow with the region yet to grant regulatory approval for a cultivated meat product.

Earlier this month, French firm Vital Meat submitted a novel food regulatory application to the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) for its cultivated chicken products.

Credit: © iStock/Moussa81Pictured: Lab grown beef | © iStock/Moussa81

In April 2022, Israel renewed its efforts in pushing cultivated meat’s agenda, investing €16m ($18m) in government grants to the world’s largest cultivated meat consortium of private firms and research institutions.

The consortium, made up of 14 Israeli food tech startups, and 10 universities and research institutions, would receive funding for a period of three years, and would be co-led by Gaya Savyon, a grantee of the Good Food Institute Israel (GFI),

Israel’s PM: News is ‘nothing less than history for alternative protein field’

Commenting on Aleph Farms’ landmark achievement, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister said: “Today’s news is nothing less than history for the State of Israel, for the field of alternative proteins, and of course for animals in Israel and around the world.

“The State of Israel is a trailblazer in this field, and for the food technology companies propelling it forward, their efforts demonstrate both great responsibility and tremendous courage.

This news is an enormous success for food security, food safety, climate action and animal welfare. I want to thank the pioneers of our generation – the trailblazers. You are the hope for a better future.”

Bruce Friedrich, founder and President of The Good Food Institute added: “This announcement marks a critical leap in the global race to make the meat that people love, in a way that’s better for our climate, biodiversity, and food security.

“Congratulations to the team at Aleph Farms on becoming the third company in the world to secure regulatory approval for cultivated meat and the first for a cultivated beef product,” he added.

“We’re thrilled that consumers in Israel will soon be able, like those in the US and Singapore, to purchase these delicious products.”

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