French cultivated meat start-up seeks approval in UK, rather than EU

French cultivated meat start-up Vital Meat earlier this year sought regulatory approval in Singapore​. Now it’s going closer to home – the UK.

Vital Meat, launched in 2018 by co-founders Frederick Grimaud and Etienne Duthoit, produces cultivated chicken by extracting cells from a fertilised chicken, which are then fed into a growth media in a bioreactor, where they multiply. The biomass is then harvested to create the final product. FoodNavigator tried the product​ in 2021 when we visited Paris. We said it definitely had a roast chicken flavour.

As a B2B ingredient, it is intended not to be eaten alone but to be added to plant-based meat in order to provide flavour.

The UK, previously a member of the EU and retaining some of its laws, is a fundamentally different place to apply for regulatory approval to Singapore. However, according to Vital Meat, there are some key similarities.

What are the main barriers of achieving regulatory approval in the UK?

Attaining regulatory approval for a novel food such as cultivated chicken is not easy anywhere. In the UK, there are many challenges.

“Many aspects require robust scientific evidence and comprehensive documentation to meet the stringent requirements set by the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA),” Vital Foods CEO and co-founder Etienne Duthoit told FoodNavigator.

“Those key aspects are: 1) the safety and stability of cell lines, 2) the validation of human health safety (including allergens and media composition), 3) the adherence to quality standards for the whole process (upstream and DSP), and 4) the consistency of the production process and of the end product.”