Regulations concerning new food products such as cultured meat, etc.

Aug 7, 2023

Regulations concerning new food products such as cultured meat, etc.

When the new genre of cultured meat is finally introduced to the U.S. market, one thing that will be of concern is its safety as a food.

I am sure that there is a lot of discussion going on right now about regulations regarding new food products such as cultured meat, so today I would like to summarize the regulations in each country and the outline of what is being discussed at this time, as a personal opinion, while referring to information on the Internet and other sources.

Status of screening in each country

As of August 2023, Singapore and the United States are the only countries where cultured meat has been approved for sale. In Singapore, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) is conducting safety evaluations under the Novel Food regulatory framework.
Safety review items specific to cell cultured foods, including cultured meat, include characteristics of cultured meat products (nutrient composition, antimicrobial/growth promoters, residue levels of regulatory factors), detailed information about the cell line, detailed information about the culture medium, and various information about the manufacturing process.

In the U.S., it appears to be under review by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); in March 2019, the two organizations announced an agreement to jointly manage cultured meat, under which the FDA will jurisdiction over all stages leading up to the cultured meat before it is actually turned into meat, and that the final meat product will be subject to the same safety standards and labeling requirements as conventional meat products. The USDA-FDA agreement covers all cultured meats derived from livestock and poultry, while other cultured meat products, such as cultured seafood, are under the sole oversight of the FDA.

Although there seem to be many European companies, including start-ups, in the food tech field, the European market is lagging behind the U.S. and Singapore at this point in time in terms of allowing the sale of cultured meat.
There was also news that Italy has supported a bill to ban cultured meat and other so called synthetic foods. We will continue to monitor future developments closely.

Situation in Japan

In Japan, the Food Sanitation Law is probably the first law that comes to mind regarding the safety of cultured meat. Article 7 of the Food Sanitation Law stipulates measures to prohibit the sale of new types of food products. However, depending on the interpretation, there are some who argue that Article 7 of the Food Sanitation Law is a very loose regulation.
Article 13 of the same law stipulates that the Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare may establish “Standards for Foods and Additives, etc.” that set standards for commercially available foods and additives, including their production methods. It remains to be seen whether cultured meat will be subject to the same mechanism as genetically-modified foods, and whether it will be subject to prior review in Japan.

In this issue, we look at regulatory trends in various countries, mainly in terms of the safety of cultured meat as a food.

Reference materials:

The future of food: what’s behind the cell-cultured meat industry regulations? Explore cultured meat regulation and its impact on food produ

Clean Meat – How an Emerging Technology Will Be Regulated

Italian Government Backs Bill to Ban Cultured Meat, Citing Protection of Food Culture – BBC News Italy’s right-wing government announced on April 29 that it will support a bill that would ban cultured meat and other synthetic foods. It said it is to protect Italy’s food culture and health.

Regulations Concerning Cultured Meat and Assurance of Safety in Japan

About Cell Culture Foods

Nishimura & Asahi (AFLP News Letter No. 10)