Cultivated Meat

South Korea Designates Regulation-Free Zone for Cultivated Meat to Boost Production & Safety

The South Korean government has announced the designation of a special regulatory-free zone in Gyeongsangbuk-do province to accelerate the production and commercialization of cultivated meat in the country.

The zone, officially named the Gyeongbuk Cell-Cultivated Foods Regulatory-Free Special Zone (RFSZ), aims to address the legal obstacles facing the development of cell culture food products, establish global standards for these novel foods, and develop a skilled workforce for the cultivated meat industry.

The cultivated meat RSFZ will be operational for the next five years (until December 2028) with a budget of ₩19.9 billion ($14.4 million) as reported by local media.

TissenBio Farms
© TissenBioFarm

Demonstrating safety

Ten companies, including SeaWith, TissenBioFarm, and DaNAgreen, will demonstrate the commercialization of cultivated meat, backed by R&D funding and tax breaks. Their goal will be to use cells from livestock samples for food production (supply and management) and demonstrate the safety measures needed to introduce the products in the market.

In a first phase, the startups will create cell banks from high-purity cells obtained from live animals and fresh meat and set quality and safety standards for storage, handling, and manufacturing.

The second phase involves demonstrating mass production and commercialization, including developing methods such as 3D printing and creating food additives, such as scaffolds, to enhance the taste and texture of the final product.

Han Won-il, CEO of TissenBioFarm, told The Segye that the designation of this special zone will enhance their competitiveness in the global market and allow them to collaborate with local companies to achieve growth.

seawith banner for its cultivated meat
© SeaWith

The ecosystem for the industry

South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has been evaluating the safety and manufacturing processes of cultivated meat since it included official guidance for alternative proteins in the National Plan 2022.

At the beginning of the year, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety started accepting applications for the approval of cultivated meat following a temporary implementation of regulations for cultivated products.  Before cultivated foods were limited to research and development purposes only and became eligible for certification as food recently. 

“Although the basic legal basis for the recognition of cell cultures as food ingredients has been established, related laws and regulations are still the biggest obstacle to the development of cell culture food products, so the designation of special zones preemptively creates an ecosystem for the cell culture industry in the region,” Gyeongsangbuk-do said in the announcement.

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