First application submitted to sell lab-grown meat in Switzerland
Israeli biotech company Aleph Farms has submitted an application to food regulators in Switzerland, asking for permission to sell its cultivated meat products in Swiss supermarkets. The proposal marks the first attempt to introduce what is commonly referred to as "lab-grown" meat in Europe.
Cultivated beef steaks on their way to Switzerland
In a statement given to Watson, Aleph Foods confirmed that it has submitted an application to the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office in Bern, seeking its permission to sell the “world’s first cultivated beef steaks under the Aleph Cuts brand.” The proposal has the backing of the food giant Migros, which has been supporting the firm since 2019.
Cultured or cultivated meat - often colloquially known as “lab-grown” - is created by placing animal cells in a bioreactor which multiplies the cells into slices of chicken, beef or pork. It is hoped that the process will replace conventional meat in the future, as 80 percent of agricultural land in the world is used to cultivate livestock, while meat products only account for 11 percent of global caloric intake.
It's not like meat, it is meat, says Migros
Migros appears to be quite enthusiastic about the idea, with the company already having promised to sell lab-grown meat “on a large scale” back in October 2022. At the time, a spokesperson said the product was “not like meat, it is meat.”
Aleph Foods said it hopes its product will improve sustainability, food safety and animal welfare in Switzerland and abroad. Their application is the first attempt to bring cultivated meat to Europe, with the company having made similar requests in Asia and the United States.
Cultured meat should be readily available by 2030
Speaking to Watson, Migros spokesperson Tristan Cerf said that once approved, the meat should become available in high-end restaurants first, before slowly moving onto the shelves of supermarkets. Unfortunately, people will have to wait a while before indulging in their bio-burgers and in-vitro steaks, as Migros expects the product to be fully approved and rolled out by 2030.