Cell-based protein companies form alliance
Five companies that grow red meat, poultry and seafood from animal cells outside the animals formed a coalition in August to focus on educating consumers and dealing with government regulation and labeling.
Founding member companies — BlueNalu and Finless Foods, makers of cell-based/cultured seafood; and Fork & Goode and JUST, makers of cell-based/cultured meat and poultry; and Memphis Meats, which is making cell-based/cultured meat, poultry and seafood — formed the Alliance for Meat, Poultry & Seafood Innovation, with the acronym AMPS Innovation.
The alliance will not have its own staff, but its public relations will be managed by the Glover Park Group, a Washington firm.
The formation of the alliance indicates that the producers of cell-based protein products have concluded their interests are somewhat different from companies that make plant-based meat alternatives, such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. The Trump administration has decided to divide jurisdiction over the cell-based meats between the Food and Drug Administration, which will handle issues before the foods go to market, and the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, which will oversee production and distribution as it does with conventional meat and poultry. The FDA is likely to have full jurisdiction over fish and seafood unless a company develops cell-based catfish, because catfish inspection is overseen by USDA.
In a statement, the companies explained, “Cell-based/cultured meat, poultry and seafood is real meat grown outside the animal, directly from animal cells. This means the companies are able to produce only the muscle, fat, skin and connective tissue that is typically eaten, without producing other parts of the animal that are not traditionally consumed.”
“Cell-based/cultured meat is real meat, not a vegan/vegetarian meat alternative. Members of AMPS Innovation understand that cell-based/cultured meat, poultry and seafood is one solution that will help fulfill the increased demand for meat as the global population grows to 10 billion people by 2050. Member companies also expect their process to provide significant benefits for the environment, animal welfare and public health.
“All five member companies, and other companies in this new and dynamic industry, are currently in the research and development phase but expect to make products available in the next several years, through appropriate regulatory pathways. In addition, the companies recognize that, as with all foods, consumers will want clear and transparent information about these products as they become available. AMPS Innovation aims to provide a central, unified resource for consumers, stakeholders and policymakers as their industry advances.
In a joint statement, Lou Cooperhouse, co-founder and CEO of BlueNalu; Michael Selden, co-founder and CEO of Finless Foods; Niya Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Fork & Goode; Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of JUST; and Uma Valeti, co-founder and CEO of Memphis Meats, said: “The Alliance for Meat, Poultry & Seafood Innovation was founded on a desire for members of our industry to come together and speak with a unified voice as we emerge as a viable, impactful partner in the overall food and agriculture sector.
“Over the past few years, each member company has made significant strides in the development of our products, and we are excited at the prospect that they will soon be options in the everyday diets of individuals. We are committed to an open and science-based dialogue with all stakeholders, including industry partners, policymakers, advocates and consumers.”