How to call this new meat? Its name has been the subject of debate to decide which one best suits the characteristics of the product, also taking into account that it must be attractive to the consumer. In fact, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been evaluating, through a panel of experts that includes our CTO Mercedes Vila, several issues related to its characteristics, safety, innocuousness, and also about what should be the most appropriate terminology. Fruit of the consensus of the main players in the sector, «cultivated meat» has been the standardized terminology up to now.
Currently, we are at a particularly important point, because the lack of familiarity of the majority of consumers with cultivated meat is moving towards a gradual and widening knowledge, due to the recent authorization for its commercialization in the United States and various regulatory movements in Europe. A very opportune moment to determine a coherent, truthful, clear, understandable and attractive terminology, since this will be especially important when it comes to developing knowledge about cultivated meat, both among regulators, industry and consumers, and generating clear communication that guarantees confidence in the process, as well as the acceptance and adoption of meat products from cell culture.
The language used will also have a significant impact on the labeling of the products, so the decision is especially relevant in this regard, although in this case it will depend in each case on the local authorities and the corresponding food safety agencies. For example, the FDA and USDA have finally authorized the name «Cell Cultivated Chicken», mentioning the animal from which the sample from which the cultivated meat has been obtained may come, which in the specific case of the product approved for marketing in that country, was chicken.
The least appropriate
In all this debate, the terminology that has seemed to be discarded is the one that refers to this new product as «lab meat», «artificial meat» or «in vitro meat», since it was considered inaccurate at the time it was published. that, once production has been scaled up, it is carried out in an industrial food production plant, as happens with any other product, not in a laboratory.
Likewise, the process of obtaining cultivated meat is a natural process, where the cells are provided with heat and the nutrients they need to grow, the same as they would inside the body of the animal.
Thus, while we wait to see what name the EU will decide to give it, once the regulatory processes are consolidated, the terminology that we will continue to use by consensus will be cultivated meat, considering it today the most appropriate and adjusted to the reality of the process and features.