Israel approves Remilk’s animal-free dairy8 May 2023
The Israeli Ministry of Health has approved precision fermentation startup Remilk’s animal-free dairy whey protein, meaning its ingredients can now be marketed and sold in Israel.
Produced via precision fermentation, Remilk’s dairy proteins are identical to those produced by cows but without the use of animals.
“[The announcement] establishes the country as one of the first in the world to offer people access to sustainable, real dairy made without cows and free of lactose, cholesterol, antibiotics and growth hormones,” said the startup in a statement.
This is the third regulatory milestone for Remilk in recent months. In February this year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a "No Questions Letter," confirming that its expert panel concluded that Remilk's animal-free protein can be safely used in food products under the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) procedure. The Singapore Food Authority also gave the ingredients the green light in the same month.
The rocky road to commercialisation?
Despite achieving these regulatory milestones, Remilk’s path to commercialisation has not been without hiccups.
International food manufacturer General Mills had planned to market cream cheeses using Remilk’s proteins in US retail chains under Bold Cultr, the brand it launched through G-Works, its corporate venture studio, after having ran a pilot launch in Minnesota using Perfect Day’s protein. However, in February this year, it backtracked on this launch and took the Bold Cultr website offline.
“G-Works regularly reviews its innovation portfolio and evaluates investment decisions. Recently, the difficult decision was made to deprioritize funding for Bold Cultr,” said a statement by General Mills.
It has also paused plans to open the world’s largest precision fermentation facility in Denmark and is instead working with a contract manufacturer.
Nevertheless, Remilk is feeling bullish about the future. The Tel Aviv-headquartered startup has raised more than $130 million in funding to date and last year announced a large-scale commercial agreement with the Central Bottling Company (CBC Group), Israel’s exclusive Coca-Cola franchisee, in order to roll out its range of dairy products for the Israeli market.
‘Changing the face of the dairy market’
Speaking of the Israeli Ministry of Health approval, Aviv Wolff, Remilk’s CEO and co-founder, said: "This is a defining moment, not only for Remilk, but for the entire global alternative protein industry and the state of Israel, one of the first in the world to recognize the significance of precision fermentation.
“The opening of the Israeli market to real, animal-free dairy products will place Israel not only at the forefront of global food-tech research and development, but also as a leading market in the world for new food consumption. Today's news opens the door for the introduction of high-quality and nutritious animal-free dairy products."
The Israeli government has thrown its weight behind precision fermentation. In March this year, the Israel Innovation Authority announced a call for proposal to establish infrastructures for precision fermentation as a production method for alternative proteins with the aim of maintaining and expanding the strength of its developmental ecosystem in this field.
Wolff added: “The product launch planned with the Central Bottling Company is on the horizon as we continue to realize our vision of creating new food systems that can provide nutritious and high-quality solutions for the world's growing population."
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