US President Joe Biden has announced plans to move toward cultivated meat in a new executive order on Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation.
Biotechnology is defined as technology that uses biological systems to develop or create different products.
The order was announced on September 12. It features plans to create innovative solutions in areas like health, the climate crisis, energy, food security, and agriculture.
As part of its agricultural innovation, the order lists “cultivating alternative food sources” alongside things like “improving sustainability and land conservation” and “increasing and protecting agricultural yields.”
In the initial background press call prior to the announcement, a White House spokesperson explicitly mentioned cultivated meat. They said: We’re also looking to improve food security and drive agricultural innovation, including through new technologies that protect crops from disease, enhance seeds and fertilizers and foods made with cultured animal cells.”
What is cultivated meat?
Cultivated meat, sometimes known as cultured meat, is the name given to genuine animal meat that’s made by cultivating animal cells. This means that the meat doesn’t require an animal to be farmed and slaughtered.
It’s being created by a number of innovative food tech companies. It hasn’t yet, however, appeared on shelves in the US or in most places in the world. It is currently only available in Singapore.
Cultivated meat is made from the same cells arranged in a similar structure as animal tissues. This means that the taste and nutrition is replicated.
Back in 2013, a Dutch scientist named Mark Post unveiled the first ever cultivated meat burger on TV. Since then, a number of companies dedicated to the industry have been established.
Cell cultivated meat in the US
The cultured meat industry has been growing in the US in recent years. Millions of dollars are being invested in the companies creating it. Before it’s sold, it will need to pass FDA and USDA tests.
Last year, in California, UPSIDE Foods opened what it claimed was “the most advanced cultivated meat production facility in the world.” It also described the growth of the food as “not only viable, but inevitable.”
It was also reported earlier this year that an Israeli start-up named Aleph Farms had been “working closely” with regulatory agencies in the US to ensure it would be the first country to stock cultivated meat.
Currently, there is just one company in the world that’s licensed to sell cultivated meat. Eat Just has its headquarters in San Francisco, and it was approved in 2020 to sell its product in Singapore. Josh Tetrick, the company’s cofounder & CEO, has hailed Biden’s nod towards the sector.
He told Plant Based News: “America has an opportunity to lead the world in building a new, healthier, and more sustainable approach to making meat. It’s critical for our food security, for our manufacturing and technology base, and for our moral leadership. I applaud this week’s bold move by the White House.”