The Japan Association for Cellular Agriculture (JACA), a research group dedicated to cellular agriculture and cultivated food, recently hosted the first-ever promotional event for the industry in Tokyo.
In February 2023, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that he would foster the development of the country’s cultivated food industry by promoting the sector and improving the market, including safety assurance measures, and developing labeling rules.
To build a consensus on necessary measures for food safety requirements for cultivated food, JACA’s event gathered more than 150 stakeholders, government officials, and industry associations, among others.
F&B key players included famous ham producer NH Foods, which recently expanded to the plant-based market with two alt seafood products and biotech company Ajinomoto, which collaborates with Israel’s SuperMeat.
According to the statement, other topics discussed at JACA’s inaugural event include the following:
- Protecting Japanese farmers’ rights on branded-animal cells such as “Wagyu”
- The proper usage of “Wagyu” term in the cellular agriculture field
- Food labeling requirements, including the definition of “Made in Japan” in cultivated products
- Guidelines for transparent consumer communications
A sensory evaluation
JACA hosted various cooking demonstrations, allowing the attendees to experience the aroma of grilled cultivated meat developed by various companies:
- 3D bioprinted cultivated beef with (marbled fat from Consortium for Future Innovation by Cultured Meat
- Cultivated chicken made by the company Diverse Farm
- Cultivated beef from Tokyo Women’s Medical University-Waseda University Joint Institution for Advanced Biomedical Science
- Cultivated chicken from Tokyo Women’s Medical University-Waseda University Joint Institution for Advanced Biomedical Science
- Cultivated “foie gras” by IntegriCulture, which cultivates its meat without fetal bovine serum
Since the safety of cultivated meat has not been cleared by Japanese authorities, JACA avoided meat tastings. In a statement, JACA has emphasized the importance of safety requirements over tasting records.
“The event demonstrated the high level of interest in the area of cellular agriculture in government, politicians, and domestic companies, and discussed the need to further accelerate the collection of information and the compilation of issues for domestic policy recommendations,” commented JACA on its event.