Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety Accepting Submissions for Cultivated Meat Approval

South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (KFDA) has announced that it has opened an application process for the approval of cultivated meat after implementing cultivated food regulations and a framework to provide companies with guidelines.

The news came after the KFDA revised and published the “Temporary Standards and Standards for Food Products,” stipulating the procedure for approving raw materials “made using technology,” such as cell and microbial cultures. 

Cultivated food ingredients became eligible for certification as food ingredients through the revision of the Enforcement Rules of the Food Hygiene Act in May last year. Previously, they were only allowed for R&D purposes. However, under these temporary standards, cultivated food ingredients could be approved for sale for the first time.

Sam Lawrence, GFI Vice President of Policy for Asia, shared with Cultivated X: “This week’s announcement of a tangible path to market for cultivated meat companies is a welcome recognition of the important role that future foods will play as South Korea seeks to build a more secure and sustainable protein supply.”

Simple Planet makes cultivated meat powder for f&&B applications
© Simple Planet

Submissions for novel ingredients

As reported by local media, the KFDA’s revised notification contains detailed review criteria for the submissions, contents, and requirements for these novel products.

Meanwhile, as explained by Hankyung, dossier submissions must include safety verification data, such as the name of the raw material, the origin of the cell, and the manufacturing method. The dossier must also include allergen and toxicity assessments for cultivated food ingredients to be recognized as food for developing cultivated products. 

The assessment fee is 45 million won ($34,000) and the approval process is projected to last up to 270 working days, reports the Good Food Institute.

The KFDA said that this initiative will benefit the food industry while ensuring the safety of foods produced using new technologies. The ministry has not received any submission dossiers yet, reports the GFI.

Cultivated caviar © CellMEAT

Cultivated meat in South Korea

The KFDA has been evaluating the safety and manufacturing processes of cultivated since it included official guidance for alternative proteins in the National Plan 2022. 

Companies such as Hanwha Solutions Corp., CJ CheilJedang, and Daesang Corp. have been investing in funds or in companies to accelerate the development of cultivated meat. For example, CJ CheilJedang Corp. has partnered with a biomedical company to develop bioprinted alt meats.

Biotech startups developing cultivated foods based in South Korea include among others, CellQua, TissenBioFarm, CellMEAT, SeaWith, and Simple Planet.

Lawrence adds: “The agency is inviting companies to submit applications during this interim period, which we take as a positive sign that regulators are keen to get the local sector moving. So far, the government has released an interim framework, which we expect to continue to develop and evolve over time.”

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