Food awareness organisation ProVeg International will be speaking on the potential of cultured meat to create a sustainable food system at the upcoming 'future of food' symposium in Germany next week.

The 21st Humboldt Symposium takes place on Wednesday, May 11, at Humboldt University in Berlin.

It will look at the major challenges affecting the food supply chain, including the threat posed by climate change, food waste, food insecurity and the effectiveness of fair trade in agriculture.

Experts from all over Europe will discuss their ideas in controversial debates and lectures. Speakers include:

  • Renate Kunast, MP, Alliance 90/The Greens;
  • Raphael Fellmer, co-founder of SIRPLUS;
  • Ingo Senftleben, MdL, CDU Brandenburg;
  • Tadzio Muller, political scientist and climate activist.

Cultured meat

"Cellular agriculture presents many promising opportunities without creating the environmental destruction that traditional meat causes through its use of land and water use,” Mathilde Alexandre, CellAg project manager at ProVeg, said. 

"The technology also offers the ability to produce meat without the need to breed, raise, or slaughter animals.

"We are therefore looking forward to presenting those opportunities at the Humboldt Symposium and to help increase understanding and acceptance of this new industry,” she added.

ProVeg actively campaigns for food system change under the banner 'Diet change, not climate change' and is working to reduce meat consumption by 50% by 2040.

Sustainable food system

According to ProVeg, the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has pinpointed cultured meat as a key technology that could bring a substantial reduction in direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from food production.

Singapore remains the only regulatory authority to have approved cultured meat for marketing in December 2020.

The Dutch government made progress last month when it earmarked €60 million to support the formation of an ecosystem around cellular agriculture, according to ProVeg.

Last year, the UK Research and Innovation under the Transforming Food Production programme (UKRI) awarded a £1 million grant to the Edinburgh company, Roslin Technologies, to develop its cultured-meat technology, which was a first for the UK.

Another significant development last year was made by the Spanish government, through its Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), which awarded €5.2 million to a cultured meat project led by BioTech Foods investigating the health impacts of cultured meat in the prevention of colon cancer and dyslipidemia.

“Cellular agriculture has moved more quickly from the academic environment to the private sector than most other technologies in the biotech and biomedical fields, and this is why ProVeg recommends governments fund public research in this nascent field,” Alexandre said.