India to Set Regulatory Framework to Move Forward Cultivated Meat & Seafood – vegconomist

As reported by the Good Food Institute, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is setting a regulatory framework for the approval of cell-based foods, including cultivated meat and seafood.

The development of regulations by FSSAI marks a significant step to move forward cultivated meat while joining other countries’ efforts to regulate its safety through a predictable and clear regulatory path to market.

In India, the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute has launched a cultivated fish project and the Department of Biotechnology and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology supports cultivated meat research.  

The cultivated meat and seafood industry in India is still in its early stages, but it has the potential to benefit from the country’s thriving pharmaceutical sector. 

Clear Meat's animal-free serum
© Clear Meat

Ingredients for cultivated meat

According to Sneha Singh, Managing Director of the Good Food Institute India (GFI India), the country is poised to become a supplier of cell culture media ingredients such as growth factors, recombinant proteins, fats, and edible scaffolds for cultivated meat production. Startups such as MyoWorks, Matt Biotech, Fermbox, and Laurus Bio provide ingredients and solutions for the cell ag and pharma sectors.

The GFI India has supported startups, including the already mentioned Myoworks, NeatMeatt (working in the government’s cultivated fish project), Klevermeat (cultivated seafood), Clear Meat, and Mealtech.

It also collaborates with various governmental institutions, including the ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Education (Mumbai), to develop fish cell lines for cultivated seafood products and to establish India’s first Smart Protein Innovation Hub on Cultivated Seafood.

Additionally, its Regulatory Advisory Council provides industry-focused regulatory advice and shares inputs with the regulator, FSSAI. 

Aleph Farm's cultivated petit steak
Image courtesy of Aleph Farms

Other countries’ regulations

Singapore and the USA have already approved cultivated chicken, and Israel recently approved the cultivated beef of the company Aleph Farms. 

Meanwhile, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is close to approving a cultivated meat product, and South Korea has implemented cultivated food regulations and a framework to provide companies with guidelines to accept submissions.

Brazil’s regulatory body, Anvisa, issued a resolution (839) to guide companies in submitting products and ingredients for safety verification and authorization. In Japan, the government has announced plans to design a regulatory path for cultivated meat. Recently, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare published an interim report on the research of novel foods, including cultivated meat.

Plant-based meat
Plant-based meat © Blue Tribe

Meat consumption in India 

According to data from the National Family Health Survey by India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the majority of India’s population consumes fish, chicken, and other types of meat, with 83% of men and 71% of women being non-vegetarians.

As in the rest of the world, meat consumption in India is leading to a rise in greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Reportedly, Indian livestock emits over 200 million tons of CO2 annually.

Cultivated meat and seafood have the potential to diversify protein production with more sustainable methods than industrial animal agriculture and fisheries. Cultured meat production can significantly lower environmental impact, including reducing global warming and land and water use.

In 2020, a report found that almost half (48.7%) of Indian consumers would be willing to purchase cultivated meat, significantly higher than in the West.

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