The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has released a report titled "Food Safety Aspects of Cell-Based Food", which covers a range of topics related to the safety and regulation of cell-based food production. The report provides an overview of the global regulatory landscape and includes case studies from Israel, Qatar, and Singapore. It also includes the results of an FAO-led expert consultation on food safety hazard identification.
The report acknowledges that there is confusion surrounding the terminology used to describe cell-based foods, and urges national regulatory bodies to establish clear and consistent language to avoid miscommunication in labeling. The report identifies four stages of the cell-based food production process that require hazard identification: cell sourcing, cell growth and production, cell harvesting, and food processing.
The experts agreed that while many hazards are already known and exist in conventionally produced food, specific consideration should be given to the unique materials, inputs, ingredients, and equipment used in cell-based food production, which may require a different food safety assessment approach. Furthermore, the report notes that food safety assessments may need to be conducted on a case-by-case basis due to the variability in production processes between cell-based food products.
The report also highlights the need for more data generation and sharing at the global level, particularly for regulators in low- and middle-income countries, and suggests that international collaborative efforts would benefit food safety regulatory authorities.
Overall, the release of this report is significant for the emerging cell-based food industry as it provides guidance for industry stakeholders and policymakers on how to navigate the complex regulatory landscape of this sector.