As alt protein development and investment explodes around the world, there are concerns that current standards and practices for alt protein production, as well as national and international regulations, fall far behind innovation and consumer demand.
Such a lack of regulatory framework could prove a major stumbling block as alt protein looks to challenge conventional meat production and offer better solutions to the issues of climate change, food supplies, and zoonotic disease outbreaks. To that end, the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WHO WPRO) has united with The Good Food Institute (GFI) as part of a two-day workshop with the focus on: “Regulatory and Food Safety Aspects of Alternative Proteins for Conventional Animal Products.”
“The way we produce, process, commercialize, prepare, and consume foods has become unsustainable”
The WHO WPRO and GFI share the belief that strong regulations would be vital in advancing the alt protein sector, which could well be the key to improving food security, preventing the destruction of the environment, as well as dealing with global poverty.
Food safety considerations of cell-cultured meat production, scientific overviews of plant-based proteins and microbial fermentation, insights into consumer perception of alternative proteins, and a case study of Singapore’s forward-thinking regulatory processes were among the topics covered.
“The food we will eat in the future is already here”
The GFI recently released its authoritative State of the Industry annual reports covering the plant-based, cellular agriculture, and fermentation sectors, with the urgent need for increased public sector involvement highlighted. The sentiment was echoed in an article by US commentator Ezra Klein in his New York Times column.
“The way we produce, process, commercialize, prepare, and consume foods has become unsustainable […] The possibility of producing alternative meat without slaughtering animals carries an obvious benefit. As does the availability of a meat product with a much-reduced environmental impact and reduced health concerns linked with emergence of novel diseases at the animal-human-environment interface.
“The food we will eat in the future is already here. […] Adapting your regulatory frameworks to include new foods is essential to protect consumer sales and make alternative and nutritious food available,” declared Dr. Babatunde Olowokure, Director of WHO WPRO’s Division of Health Security and Emergencies, during the formal proceedings of the meeting.