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Aleph Farms gains “world’s first” regulatory approval for cell-based beef
FoodBev Media

FoodBev Media

17 January 2024

Aleph Farms gains “world’s first” regulatory approval for cell-based beef

Today, Aleph Farms has announced that Israel’s government agency has issued regulatory approval for Aleph Cuts, the “world’s first” cell-based beef steaks, in the form of a 'No Questions' letter. Following a rigorous review process by Israel’s Ministry of Health (MoH), Aleph Farms received the green light – the first ever for non-chicken cultivated meat anywhere in the world. It is also the first for cell-based meat of any kind in the Middle East, and the third cultivated meat company in the world to gain approval, following the US Department of Agriculture's approval of Good Meat and Upside Foods' cell-based chicken products in the US last year. Aleph Farms cultivates its beef, named Aleph Cuts, from cells sourced from cattle. The company says it prioritised beef due to conventional cattle farming’s impact on the environment, as well as its value – of common animal proteins, beef delivers the highest value in global markets, shortening the timeline to price parity. In a statement, Aleph said: “Together, impact and value pave a clear path for the acceptance of cellular agriculture, propelling its long-term growth and success”.

Didier Toubia, CEO and co-founder of Aleph Farms, said: “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. On behalf of our entire team, I would like to thank the Ministry of Health, the Israel Innovation Authority and all the other involved government agencies for their commitment to advance the first cultivated beef product in the world.” The first Aleph Cut to be introduced to diners in Israel – the cell-based Petit Steak – is made of non-modified, non-immortalised cells of a premium Black Angus cow named Lucy, as well as a plant protein matrix made of soy and wheat. Aside from starter cells that come from one of Lucy’s fertilised eggs, there are zero animal-derived components (including no foetal bovine serum) in the cultivation process and the final product. No antibiotics are used in production, with none present in the final product. Yifat Gavriel, chief of regulatory affairs, quality assurance and product safety at Aleph Farms, commented: "2024 stands to be a landmark year for the advancement of regulatory pathways and commercialisation of cultivated meat. With this historic regulatory approval, Israel’s MoH has firmly cemented its leadership position in introducing world-changing innovation in a way that builds trust with consumers.”

He continued: “Working closely with the Food Risk Management Department at the IMOH, led by Ziva Hamama, we have ensured full compliance with safety standards and shaped the regulatory landscape for novel foods, opening the door for cellular agriculture to enhance food safety and food security." "This approval grants us permission to produce and market our product in Israel, subject to specific directions for labelling and marketing provided by the IMOH, and the completion of Good Manufacturing Practices inspection for our pilot production facility. Our regulatory team is working in similar fashion with authorities in numerous markets around the world in order to ensure compliance with respective safety requirements.” Ziva Hamama, food risk management department director at Israel’s MoH, added: “This regulatory approval of bovine cell-based food establishes Israel as a global leader in this emerging field but also underscores the National Food Service in the Ministry of Health’s commitment to prioritising public health. This regulatory milestone, the first of its kind worldwide, reflects a comprehensive assessment of crucial factors, from toxicology and allergens to nutritional composition, microbiological safety, and chemical safety throughout the entire production process – from the initial cell isolation to processing and packaging.”

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