Cultured meat tastings possible soon

A steak from the laboratory is one step closer: the Netherlands is the first European country to allow tastings with cultured meat. The government has appointed an independent committee with a toxicologist, microbiologist, doctor and ethicist who will assess applications for tastings. Cultured meat company Meatable has already submitted an application, Mosa Meat and Upstream Foods intend to do so.

Cultured meat is presented as a sustainable and animal-friendly alternative to traditional meat. The meat is grown in the laboratory from animal stem cells. This means that only one animal is needed – to use the stem cells – for thousands of kilos of meat.

The sale of cultured meat is still prohibited in the Netherlands, but according to a spokesperson for Mosa Meat, the tastings are a “first step” towards laboratory meat in the supermarket. It is already sold in Singapore and the United States.

This has previously caused misunderstandings: when the American producer of plant-based food and cultured meat Eat Just came to the Netherlands in 2018 to taste several kilos of cultured meat, it was turned down by the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, because there is no European approval for this yet. used to be. The meat was seized, frozen and included in the collection of the NEMO science museum in Amsterdam, says marketing director of Mosa Meat Tim van de Rijdt.

Tasting was previously allowed within companies, and “internally our people also have excellent taste buds,” says the spokesperson, “but now we can test whether our meat works in a restaurant or another culinary environment.” Mosa Meat will submit an application within the next few days and expects to hold a first tasting in the coming months, for chefs and “taste testers”. “They can help us make our meat as tasty as possible.”

The Netherlands is taking the step while other countries in Europe are showing restraint. Italy even banned cultured meat last year to protect ‘tradition and culture’. France, the largest producer of beef, has already banned cultured meat from company canteens in advance (it is not yet on the market there either) by adopting regulations about it. The Netherlands’ attitude fits in with the pioneering role that the Netherlands is taking in this area: the first cultured hamburger was produced in the Netherlands and last year the government made a multi-million investment in cultured meat company Meatable.