The World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), representing over 1.2 billion farmers worldwide, has
taken a stand against adopting lab-grown food as an alternative to the food resulting
from the work of farmers.

The organisation, in a recent position paper adopted by its General Assembly, underlines the significance of sustainable agriculture and raises concerns regarding the potential impact of lab-grown food on global food security, food safety and human health, cultural heritage, and the livelihoods of farming communities.

Lab-grown food, substances produced in laboratories for human consumption, are created using tissues or cells and are not naturally occurring on a large scale, according to the WFO.

It claimed that they are supported by marketing campaigns that enhance the myth of greater sustainability compared to agriculture.

The WFO said that farmers “firmly reject this narrative that lacks scientific evidence”.

Lab-grown food

According to the WFO, the recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO), titled ‘Food Safety Aspects of Cell Based Food’, makes it clear that there is no reliable evidence to compare cell-based food to farmer-produced food

The WFO stated: “There is still much to consider about its nutritional value and how it could affect human health in the long-term.

“In addition, any claims regarding less land and water use, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, animal welfare and reduced risk of zoonotic diseases have yet to be proved.

“The role of farmers is essential in shaping resilient and sustainable food systems.”

The organisation added that achieving sustainability involves embracing diverse agricultural systems, ensuring inclusiveness and transparency, and promoting research and innovation while preserving tradition.

“The WFO values innovation and embraces an approach that is bottom-up, science-based, and
result-oriented,” the organisation’s statement continued.

It has called for collaboration among farmers, researchers, and stakeholders in the value chain to address the challenges ahead, develop innovative practices, and deliver sustainable solutions to produce, process, distribute and consume food in a sustainable manner.

The WFO is also urging stronger connections between consumers, policymakers, and the agricultural and rural communities to promote a better understanding of the benefits of agriculture, including livestock farming.

“On these assumptions, the WFO strongly opposes replacing farmer-grown food with lab-made foodstuff,” the organisation stated.

“Such substitutes dismiss the work and contribution of farmers to sustainability and push consumers towards a homogenous dietary model that undermines the tradition, diversity, richness, quality, and uniqueness of regional food systems across the planet.”

World Farmers’ Organisation

The World Farmers’ Organisation, is a member-based organisation, representing a community of geographically balanced entrepreneurial farmers.

Regardless of their size (small-, medium- and large-scale), gender, and age, the WFO wants farmers’ role as food producers and economic actors, globally recognised.

The WFO said its mission is to advocate for the global farming community in international processes impacting the present and the future of the agricultural sector.