Fermentation

New Culture Announces “World First” GRAS Status for Precision Fermentation Casein, Paving the Way for Animal-Free Mozzarella

Following a review by an independent panel of qualified scientific and toxicology experts, Californian animal-free cheese producer New Culture announces that it has self-affirmed its precision fermentation-derived casein as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). 

New Culture claims this achievement marks the “world’s first” GRAS designation for animal-free casein, which allows it to sell its products containing casein in the USA.

“Achieving GRAS status proves that animal inputs aren’t needed to produce casein”

New Culture has yet to notify the FDA through the GRAS Notification Program. It is worth noting that this step is not mandatory; however, the FDA strongly encourages manufacturers to contact the agency by submitting a notice.

Inja Radman, co-founder and CSO of New Culture, shares: “Having secured another ‘world’s first’ for our animal-free casein is a testament to the hard-working and innovative team we have at New Culture.”

New Culture announces that it has self-affirmed its animal-free casein as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).
© New Culture

The power of casein

Founded in 2019, New Culture makes animal-free mozzarella by combining traditional cheese-making methods and casein proteins derived from precision fermentation

As explained by the company, the GRAS status confirms that its novel casein is bioidentical to that of cows, matching its identity and macronutritional profile. It also validates that the manufacturing process is reproducible, industry-standard, and food-safe.

Casein, with its unique structural properties, is responsible for the taste, texture, and functionality of dairy products. It allows New Culture’s animal-free mozzarella to melt, stretch, bubble, brown, and taste like conventional cheese, explains the company.

However, because the casein comes from fermentation instead of cows, New Culture’s cheese is free from lactose, cholesterol, trace hormones, and antibiotics.

New Culture pizza in oven
© New Culture

Animal-free mozzarella for pizzerias

With this GRAS milestone, New Culture will be able to officially launch its mozzarella at Nancy Silverton’s Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles later this year, where it previously debuted in another “world first”.

The company has achieved various manufacturing milestones and continues to scale its capacity in preparation for the upcoming launch.

New Culture has been backed by Kraft Heinz, ADM, and the biotech giant CJ CheilJedang to develop further its innovative platform that allows the production of any cheese without using animal ingredients. The company was selected for Fast Company’s 2023 World Changing Ideas Awards and has been included in the 2023 ClimateTech 100 and 2023 FoodTec 500 lists.

“Achieving GRAS status proves that animal inputs aren’t needed to produce casein protein and marks an essential step on our path toward commercialization,” Radman adds.




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