© Rikki Hibbert/Fry's Family Foods

Johannesburg High Court Overturns Seizure of Meat Alternatives in South Africa

The Johannesburg High Court has overturned the planned seizure of plant-based meat alternatives marketed using “meat-like” terms in South Africa. These products will now remain permanently available in the country. South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) first banned the use of meat-like terms on plant-based product labels in June 2022, arguing that it was misleading to consumers. The department instructed the Food Safety Agency to seize any non-compliant products. However, plant-based advocates took the case to the Johannesburg High Court, successfully arguing that plant-based meat alternatives were not covered by legislation relating to the classification and labelling of processed meats. The court temporarily halted the planned seizure of the products in August 2022. Almost a year later, the seizure was …

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Image: La Vie on LinkedIn

Victory for Plant-Based Meat as French Conseil d’Etat Suspends Labelling Decree

The French Conseil d’Etat has suspended a decree banning the use of meat-like terms such as “steak” and “ham” for plant-based products. The suspension was requested by several plant-based food producers, including La Vie, Umiami, Happyvore, Nutrition & Santé, NxtFood, and Olga. The Conseil d’Etat agreed to suspend the decree, which would have come into force on May 1, on the basis that it may not be legal and could be damaging to plant-based meat producers. “The interim relief judge considers that there is serious doubt as to the legality of this prohibition,” the Conseil d’Etat said in a statement. “Pending the reply of the Court of Justice of the European Union, the interim relief judge of the Conseil d’Etat suspends the new decree, as …

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Cem Özdemir Germany Vegetarian Minister

Cem Özdemir © Sedat Mehder

Germany’s Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture Cem Özdemir Addresses Declining Meat Consumption

German meat consumption falls to an all-time low. Federal Minister Cem Özdemir suggests utilising new market opportunities. The long-term trend of declining meat consumption continued in 2023. According to preliminary figures from the Federal Information Centre for Agriculture (BZL), per capita meat consumption fell by 430 grams to 51.6 kilograms. This is the lowest figure since records began. Oat milk and veggie burgers offer market potential The famously vegetarian Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Cem Özdemir, comments: “Germans are paying more attention to their health, the impact on the environment or the welfare of animals when it comes to their diet. Many people are eating less meat today, but more consciously – and all the figures suggest that the trend is continuing. Agriculture, trade …

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Cows on a truck

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82% of EU Agricultural Subsidies are Channeled into Climate-Damaging Animal Products

The European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy channels a large proportion of its agricultural subsidies into supporting the production of emission-intensive animal-based foods. According to a new study, 82% of EU agricultural subsidies are channelled into the production of emission-intensive animal products, with a portion being provided directly and another portion indirectly through feed subsidies. This practice is at odds with the European Green Deal and the growing calls for more sustainable and environmentally friendly agriculture. The analysis of global physical input-output datasets in conjunction with public subsidy data showed that the subsidy intensity for animal products increases significantly when the necessary feed is included. These animal products are associated with 84% of embodied greenhouse gas emissions from EU food production. Despite their high share of …

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Chicken Eggs in Carton

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Mathilde Do Chi, Expert on Food Law, Part 3: Multi-Regional Approvals in Food Innovation, Or, Why Not to Put Your Eggs in the Same Basket

Mathilde Do Chi is the CEO of Vegan Food Law, a food law and regulatory consultancy in global alternative protein regulations. She is an international food law and regulatory consultant with expertise in alternative proteins, novel foods, the future of food, and much more. A frequent public speaker at numerous food and foodtech conferences, Mathilde helps VCs, startups and multinationals comprehend complex food regulations, assisting the likes of Blue Horizon, Planted, and Formo with their legal matters. In this third installment of the series, Mathilde discusses how simultaneously obtaining food regulatory approvals across multiple jurisdictions is crucial for companies looking to efficiently enter international markets, optimize costs, and gain a competitive advantage in the global food industry. Not putting your eggs in the same basket: the importance of simultaneous food regulatory …

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Congress Alternative Protein Research

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US Congressional Coalition Calls on President Biden to Increase Plant-Based Food Options in Federal Facilities

55 members of the US Congress have collectively urged President Joe Biden to expand the availability of plant-based food options within federal facilities across the nation. Initiated on March 14, 2024, by Representative Jamie Raskin (D-MD), this letter underscores the dual benefits of adopting plant-based diets: significantly reducing the federal government’s carbon footprint and enhancing the nutritional health of Americans. The letter reads, “Our federal government spends billions of dollars on food procurement each year and can play an important role in empowering and providing consumers with healthy food offerings. Today, we write to encourage your administration to work with federal agencies to make a plant-based option available everywhere our federal government serves a meal—from museums to national parks, and federal agency cafeterias to military …

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The UK’s Food Standards Agency Agrees on Reforms to Streamline Approval Process for Novel Foods

The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) is set to modernise its regulatory procedure for cultivated meat and precision fermentation-derived foods to remove unnecessary delays in bringing these products to market.  At a recent board meeting, the FSA agreed upon new reforms that will apply to ‘regulated products,’ which include different food and feed products such as flavorings, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and novel foods (foods that have no history of consumption).  Streamlining the process One of the fundamental changes proposed by the FSA is the creation of a new public register of regulated products to streamline the process of approving new products for the market. As explained by the Good Food Institute Europe, currently, a Statutory Instrument must be presented before a new product can …

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The European Commission has published a new communication, Building the future with nature: Boosting Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing in the EU.

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EU Commission Proposes Ambitious Biotech Initiative, Including Key Actions for Alt Proteins

The European Commission has published a new initiative, Building the Future with Nature: Boosting Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing in the EU, that summarises the sector’s challenges and proposes a line of actions to address these barriers in different industries, such as agriculture, health, marine biotech, and food and feed among others. According to the Good Food Institute Europe‘s policy team, the document provides three key actions pertinent to Europe’s alternative protein sector, as follows. Firstly, the document emphasises the importance of fostering public and private investments in biotechnology through the European Innovation Council’s accelerator program. It suggests including specific biotech-related challenges in the program to support innovative technologies and solutions. Furthermore, the document mentions exploring new investment support options from the European Investment Bank to boost …

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a photo of shrimp

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India to Set Regulatory Framework to Move Forward Cultivated Meat & Seafood

As reported by the Good Food Institute, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is setting a regulatory framework for the approval of cell-based foods, including cultivated meat and seafood. The development of regulations by FSSAI marks a significant step to move forward cultivated meat while joining other countries’ efforts to regulate its safety through a predictable and clear regulatory path to market. In India, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute has launched a cultivated fish project and the Department of Biotechnology and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology supports cultivated meat research.   The cultivated meat and seafood industry in India is still in its early stages, but it has the potential to benefit from the country’s thriving pharmaceutical sector.  Ingredients for cultivated meat …

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“There is No Problem to Fix”: UK Government Urged to Reject Plant-Based Dairy Labelling Guidance

Food awareness organisation ProVeg UK has called on the UK government to stop the publication of guidance that would restrict the labelling of plant-based dairy alternatives. The guidance has been drawn up by the Food Standards & Information Focus Group (FSIFG), which aims to help trading standards officers interpret inherited EU laws. It is set to be published at Easter, and would prevent plant-based dairy companies from using terms such as “not milk”, “cheeze”, or even “alternative to milk”. But ProVeg argues that the guidance will stifle the plant-based industry instead of taking advantage of opportunities for growth. The UK is the second-largest consumer of plant-based alternative proteins in Europe, and is home to many alt dairy companies. “One of the reasons the UK voted …

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A cultivated chicken sandwich

© UPSIDE Foods

Florida Senate Bans Sales of Cultivated Meat 

Yesterday, the Florida Senate approved a bill banning the sale of cultivated meat, making Florida the first state in the country to do so. As reported by local media, the Republican-controlled Senate voted 26-10 to pass the bill, which would make changes related to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. All the votes against the bill were from Democrats. R-Tampa representative Jay Collins, the bill’s sponsor, stated that although research over time may prove that cultivated meat is feasible, there is a need for more certainty on its safety. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a strong supporter of the ban, has previously called cultivated meat “fake meat.”  Research on cultivated meat continues to be allowed since NASA and other space researchers are developing the …

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NovaMeat

© NovaMeat

Special Guest Series: Mathilde Do Chi, Expert on Food Law, Part Two – The EU & Novel Foods

Mathilde Do Chi, is the CEO of Vegan Food Law, a food law and regulatory consultancy in global alternative protein regulations. She is an international food law and regulatory consultant with expertise in alternative proteins, novel foods, the future of food, and much more. A frequent public speaker at numerous food and foodtech conferences, Mathilde helps VCs, startups and multinationals comprehend complex food regulations, assisting the likes of Blue Horizon, Planted, and Formo with their legal matters. In this second installment of the series, Mathilde addresses the challenges and opportunities surrounding novel food in the EU. As novel foods emerge, offering the potential for sustainable and ethical dietary options, they encounter significant hurdles: resistance rooted in protecting culinary heritage, regulatory frameworks biased towards traditional animal-based products, and the critical need for effective …

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Vegan cured ham by Biolab.

© Biolab

Italy Signals Willingness to Revisit Plant-Based Labelling Restrictions Following Industry Feedback

Two days ago, France issued a decree prohibiting companies from using familiar food names such as ‘salami’ or ‘steak’ to protect consumers from confusing plant-based products with animal foods.  Italy passed a similar ban last November, also arguing that plant-based meat labels mislead and confuse consumers. Nonetheless, the government is open to reconsidering its restrictions (which are yet to be enforced) if they hurt Italian businesses.  As reported by local media, the government is negotiating with Unione Italian Food, which represents the plant-based food sector, to work together to reach a mutual agreement on how to label alternatives to meat. During previous talks, he emphasized that his goal is not to harm Italian companies but to balance business interests and consumer protection.  “We intended to open a discussion …

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Bene Meat Technologies signed open letter urging the EU to evaluate the safety of cultivated meat

© Bene Meat Technologies

Bene Meat Technologies Signs Open Letter Urging the EU to Review Italy’s Cultivated Meat Safety Concerns

Czech cultivated meat company Bene Meat Technologies has sent an open letter to the European Commission asking it to review Italy’s ban on cultivated meat due to safety concerns and its compliance with EU law.  The letter states that Italy’s ban on the technology was based on unfounded scientific claims about its safety, disregarding the EU’s standard food safety assessment mechanisms while violating the common market principle, posing a threat to EU interests. “The EU has a range of legislative instruments to ensure food safety, often directly applicable, and not requiring the adoption of standards at a national level,” argues Bene Meat Technologies. Factual scientific information The letter, signed on behalf the company’s team by CEO Roman Kříž, also notes that as an experienced company in cellular agriculture, …

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Cultivated meat-Cultivated Meat Project

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UK Firms Receive Almost £500,000 Government Grant for Cultivated Meat Project

The research company Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and two Newcastle University spinoffs, MarraBio and Aelius Biotech, have been awarded an almost £500,000 grant by Innovate UK for a cultivated meat project. With the grant, the organizations will leverage their expertise and capabilities to develop a low-emission, cost-effective method for producing cultivated meat.  The project will further research engineered protein materials developed by MarraBio to replace expensive reagents currently used in large-scale cell-based meat biomanufacturing. Food safe bacterial polymers  MarraBio develops alternative bacterial protein polymers that help cells grow, divide, and behave normally. These proteins are made with multifunctional, low-cost raw materials, significantly reducing costs.  However, to use these polymers for food production, the manufacturing process must be modified to meet food regulations. As explained by …

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A package of La Vie's new plant-based ham

Image courtesy of La Vie

Plant-Based Companies Respond to French Decree Banning Meat-Like Words on Veggie Packaging

Yesterday 27 February, the French government issued a decree prohibiting the use of words such as “steak, “ham”, “cutlet”, or “escalope” on the labels of meat-free foods. The ruling comes in response to allegations from the meat industry that such terms are confusing for consumers. Similarly, last December, the Republican (Les Républicains) party of France introduced a bill to prohibit the production and marketing of cultivated meat in the tradition-focused country. The measure seriously compromises the sales prospects of home-grown French innovations in the face of major foreign companies not affected by this new legislation, argues French vegan whole-cut leader Umiami. Despite the French government’s support for the industrialisation of the plant-based sector, including the Umiami startup factory, these regulations seriously hamper their economic development …

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Libre Foods bacon

© Libre Foods

The Government of Catalonia Invests €12M in Open Access Facility for Alternative Proteins 

The government of Catalonia will invest €12 million in a pre-industrial facility to extract, produce, and develop alternative protein ingredients and foods. The facility, located in Alcarràs, Lleida, will provide open access, from R&D to pre-industrial manufacturing, for companies to validate their developments before mass production. As reported by local news, the complex will feature different production lines, including plant protein extraction, wet extrusion, and final product processing. It will also offer a dedicated precision fermentation facility and an analysis laboratory to help companies bring innovations to market. According to local media Aral, the facility will “open access to any of the hundreds of Spanish producers currently interested in developing innovative lines of alternative foods to meat.” The project is part of the Biohub Cat, an …

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Los Angeles

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Los Angeles County Implements Plant-Based Food Policy to Tackle Environmental and Health Concerns

Los Angeles County has enacted a new plant-based policy addressing environmental, public health, and animal welfare concerns. The legislation, initiated by supervisors Lindsey Horvath and Hilda L. Solis, mandates a comprehensive shift towards plant-based food in the county’s food service provider contracts. Mercy For Animals worked closely with Horvath’s office to develop the policy, which encompasses Health Services, Parks and Recreation, and Public Works departments and includes updates to nutritional standards, recommendations for plant-based procurement, and tracking greenhouse gas emissions. Leah Garces, president at Mercy for Animals, announced the development on social media:  “We at MFA call for enactment and enforcement of animal protection laws and a shift to a plant-based food system. As more Americans choose plant-based food for health, environmental protection, and animal …

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France Flag

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France Finally Bans “Meaty” Names from Plant-Based Labels in New Decree

The French government has finally published a decree specifying the list of names that plant-based companies cannot use to label their products, including, among many others, ‘steak,’ ‘entrecote,’ ‘ham,’ ‘butcher,’ and ‘cutlet.’ The text responds to a long-standing demand of animal agri-food players to ban meat-product names in plant-based foods, claiming that these labels mislead and confuse consumers.   France, the first country in the EU to take measures against plant-based meat labels, published the first decree in June 2022, but last year, the French Conseil d’Etat halted the process to ask the European Court of Justice if banning these names in plant-based products was compatible with the EU. However, the government revealed a renewed proposal to ban “meaty” names last September, alleging consumer confusion. Two prohibiting lists …

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Vegan meal kits cooked and served

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Australia to Include Sustainability Messaging in Dietary Guidelines to Align with Global Efforts

Australia is set to promote plant-based foods and diets as it looks to incorporate sustainability messaging into an updated version of its official Dietary Guidelines. Hailed as a milestone step by Food Frontier, a leading advocate for sustainable food solutions, sustainability messaging would raise awareness among Australian consumers about the environmental implications of dietary choices. The move, recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), is poised to align the country with global efforts. As explained by the alt protein think tank, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, Qatar, Norway, Brazil, and Germany have already recognized the need for more sustainable food systems in light of the increasing global population — from 8 to 9.7 billion by 2050 — and climate crisis concerns.  For the planet Dr. Simon Eassom, CEO …

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