Cultivated meat tastings will reportedly be legal in the Netherlands in a few weeks’ time, allowing researchers, experts, and journalists to sample slaughter-free meat.
Despite the fact that the first ever piece of cultivated meat was produced in the Netherlands, it is currently still illegal for anyone — even the scientists developing the products — to taste it. This has posed a problem for Dutch companies such as Mosa Meat and Meatable; “tastings” currently have to be done with computer software, which may not always correctly emulate human tastes.
Politicians have been calling for change for years, and a motion to allow tastings was finally passed in the House of Representatives in 2022. But approval from the Cabinet was still required, and according to RTL Nieuws, it is finally set to be granted. The first tastings are expected to take place in the autumn.
While the change in legislation is a welcome step, full regulatory approval — which would allow cultivated meat to be sold commercially — is likely still a distant prospect. The process is lengthy, requiring a risk assessment from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) along with final approval from the European Commission and representatives from all EU member states.
However, the EFSA recently held an event to review the latest data on cultivated meat, following the regulatory approval of cultivated products by UPSIDE Foods and GOOD Meat in the USA. This could indicate that the authority is looking to adopt a more innovative approach to regulation.
“Finally, after five years, [cultivated meat tastings] seem to have arrived,” Dutch MP Tjeerd de Groot told RTL Nieuws. “Once upon a time, the Netherlands was a forerunner, then we let it go a bit and I hope that we can catch up.”