Brussels, 30th October 2023: The legislative proposal on meat and meat products adopted by the Romanian Senate Monday last week includes an article that would ban the sales of cultured meat on the domestic market, allegedly to protect citizens’ health and ensure transparent information for consumers. As the parliamentary process shall continue with the Chamber of Deputies’ review, Cellular Agriculture Europe wishes to set the record straight on cellular agriculture products and their future role in the EU’s transition towards a sustainable food system.
First, the European Union does have an appropriate regulatory system in place for the safety assessment and approval of cell-cultured products with the Novel Foods Regulation. To enter the European Union (EU) market, novel food products like cultivated meat must be authorised by the European Commission and the member states, after a thorough safety assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Worldwide, this approval is considered to be a gold standard in food safety.
The legislative proposal, as it is currently phrased, thus contravenes the EU law as it would impose unnecessary and unlawful barriers to the free movement of food products on the European market.
Furthermore, we must recognise the negative externalities of our food systems on the environment. And, cellular agriculture brings the potential of reducing the climate impact of meat production as well as lowering the use of water, land and greenhouse gas emissions. Banning cultivated meat on its domestic market would deprive Romania from a powerful tool for a much-needed protein diversification and would reduce consumers’ ability to choose the food they want.
Thanks to cultivated meat, dairy and seafood companies there will be new products on the market, allowing consumers who are concerned about animal welfare and the environmental impact of their food, to choose the product they wish.
Cellular Agriculture Europe and its members thus call on the Romanian Deputies to reject Article 5 of the legislative proposal, which is in clear breach of the EU law and would restrict consumers’ free choice. We also remain accessible for any further fact-based information about our sector and products.