Israel approves sale of world’s first lab-grown beef
An Israeli company has received preliminary approval from the government to sell the world’s first steaks made from cultivated beef cells, the country’s Health Ministry announced this week.
The ministry said the approval was part of a pilot program for alternative protein carried out by the Department of Food Risk Management. It also cited the growing global demand for “products of non-living origin,” adding it is working to approve alternative food sources. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called the development “a global breakthrough” and “important news for food security, environmental protection, and concern for animals.”
Aleph Farms, which was granted the go-ahead, will make the beef from cells derived from a fertilized egg from a cow named Lucy, a Black Angus that lives on a California farm. However, it could take months before the product is served to diners as regulators must still approve the company’s labels and conduct a final inspection.
“Addressing common challenges such as food security will be the best way to ensure the prosperity of the Middle East region, as well as other regions around the world that are significantly dependent on food imports, with an emphasis on Asia,” Aleph Farms CEO Didier Toubia was quoted as saying by the Times of Israel.
Creating cultivated, or ‘cell-cultured’ meat, also known as lab-grown meat, could help reduce the environmental impacts of conventional meat production, proponents claim. However, producing such meat on a large scale would mean high costs, experts indicate.
Singapore and the US have previously approved cultured chicken for sale. More than 150 companies worldwide reportedly have plans to produce lab-grown meat.
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