- Aleph Farms was issued a “no questions” letter on Tuesday from the Israel Ministry of Health that granted it pre-approval for the sale of its cultivated beef steak products.
- The letter deems Aleph’s product as safe to eat, marking the “world’s first” regulatory approval for cell-based beef steaks.
- The Israel-based company’s product, Aleph Cuts, is made from cells sourced from cattle. The company chose to prioritize cultivated beef due to “conventional cattle farming’s impact on the environment, as well as its value.” According to the company, beef delivers the highest value in global markets out of all common animal proteins, shortening the timeline to price parity.
Until now, food tech companies had been focusing on cultivated chicken meat products. Only two other companies — Upside Foods and Eat Just — have been granted some sort of regulatory approval.
The companies received the green light from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and FDA in July of last year, but Aleph Farms has now received the first go ahead for any non-chicken cultivated meat product in the world.
This approval is also the first for any kind of protein in the Middle East.
Aleph Farms is now able to produce and market its product, according to a spokesperson, and the permission is subject to the labeling and marketing guidelines from the Ministry of Health and the completion of a Good Manufacturing Practices inspection for the company’s pilot production facility, according to an AgFunder News report.
The company’s product is made from the cells of premium Black Angus cow along with soy and wheat proteins.
Aleph Farms has also said the product does not contain fetal bovine serum (FBS). This controversial ingredient, which is found in some other cultivated meat products, is harvested from a fetal calf after the discovery of pregnant cows due for slaughter, making it a byproduct of the meat processing industry, according to research from Good Food Institute.
Removing FBS has been one of the cultivated meat industry’s many challenges along with high production costs and consumer education, and some companies like Omeat and Eat Just have also been producing products without it.
“We believe that addressing joint challenges like food security is the best way to ensure the prosperity of the Middle East and other parts of the world that rely heavily on massive food imports,” Aleph Farms CEO Didier Toubia said in a statement.
The company will begin offering its Aleph Cuts product in foodservice and retail locations, and the company is continuing to work with regulatory officials in other markets.