Malaysia’s first cultivated meat company, Cell AgriTech, says it will start the construction of its first cultivated meat production plant in Penang, set to be completed by the end of 2024 with a total investment of RM20 million.
Although regulations regarding the industry are unclear in the country and region — except for Singapore, which has granted approval for growth media and cultivated products — Cell Agritech aims to launch its products into the Asian market by 2025.
Malaysia’s first cultivated meat conference
Jason Ng Chin Aikm, Cell AgriTech’s founder, made the announcements at the country’s first Cultivated Meat Conference held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on the 15th and 16th of March.
Cell AgriTech and Bioeconomy Corporation, a leading economic development agency for the biotechnology, bio-based, and agro-based industries, jointly organized the event.
The conference gathered government agencies relevant to cellular agriculture and biotech industries, food manufacturers, investors, regulatory bodies, and universities. Deputy Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Arthur Joseph Kurup also attended the conference.
More than ten keynote topics were presented with local and international speakers from various organizations related to the cellular agriculture sector, including solutions to minimize costs, world safety and regulations, halal certifications, and global trends.
Partnership with Umami Meats
Cell AgriTech says it aims to be one of the world’s most cost-efficient cultivated meat companies. The team’s expertise primarily focuses on scaling up and manufacturing bioprocesses and is poised to produce cultivated meat at less than $10 per kilogram.
The company, which is teaming up with Singapore’s cultivated seafood company Umami Meats, says it will focus on cultivating certain species of tuna and eel grown with non-GM cell lines. Recently, Umami partnered with California-based Triplebar to collaborate on improving cell lines to produce cultivated seafood more efficiently.
“We have made significant strides in developing cell lines for Grouper, Japanese Eel, and Snapper and are now ready to scale up our production efforts,” said Ng at the event.
Since most of Malaysia‘s population is Muslim, Cell AgriTech says it will start working with the relevant authorities to decide how halal certification and other food-related regulations will be applied to approve cultivated fish and meat products.
Cell AgriTech, a pioneer in the country’s industry, has partnered with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) to introduce a professional certification program in cultivated meat, covering fundamental concepts of industrial applications.
“Current global food systems cannot provide a sustainable, healthy diet for the world’s growing population. Our dietary preferences for livestock-based food contributes to huge greenhouse gas emissions. Biotechnology can deliver sustainable solutions by transforming the food and agricultural sector,” states the company on its website.