The Netherlands is the first European country to allow cultivated meat tasting
Earlier this month, the Dutch government agreed to allow limited tasting of cultivated meat and seafood, enabling food scientists to test their products with consumers. This makes the Netherlands the first European country to make pre-approval tastings of food grown directly from animal cells possible, strengthening the prospects for alternative protein advancement.
Embracing a new way of producing animal products
On July 5th, the Dutch government released a letter allowing for the consumption of lab-grown meat and seafood in controlled environments. This agreement makes the Netherlands the first European country to allow pre-approval tastings of food grown directly from animal cells.
This action aligns with the Dutch government’s ‘National Growth Fund’ plan which commits €60M to building a robust ecosystem for cellular agriculture with the aim of making the Netherlands an international hub for this technology. The organisation created to implement this plan, Cellular Agriculture Netherlands, will be responsible for creating a code of practice for evaluating requests by companies to conduct trials of cultivated products.
Switching to cultivated meat can make an impact
Cultivated meat, also known as cultured meat, is grown using a small amount of animal cells which eliminates the need to raise whole animals just for slaughter. Because it contains the same basic cell structure, cultivated meat can mirror conventional meat in smell, taste, and nutrition while avoiding the degree of environmental impact caused by conventional farming.
According to independent research assessing the lifecycle of cultured versus conventional meat production, switching to cultivated meat production is projected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 93%, use 95% less land, and 78% less water by 2030, when compared to the conventional meat production methods we use now. The automation and sterile environment in which cultivated meat is produced can also drastically reduce the use of antibiotics and risk of contamination and food borne illnesses that are associated with intensive animal farming.
New possibilities in the food sector
When it comes to imitating meat and seafood products, taste is key. Even though lab grown meat was pioneered in the Netherlands with Dutch scientist Mark Post unveiling the world’s first lab grown burger in 2013, European food scientists have been unable to taste their own products or collect feedback from consumers due to the EU’s food health and safety regulations.
This approval means that food scientists can now test their cultivated products with customers, enabling them to collect valuable feedback to better meet taste expectations. This opens the door to improvement in the sector for homegrown companies like Meatable and Mosa Meat, as well as up-and-coming alternative protein innovators.