The Cultured Meat Safety Initiative (CMSI), a joint initiative between New Harvest and Vireo Advisors aiming to address critical technical, methodological, and informational challenges related to evaluating the safety of cultured meat (CM).
This involves the convening of diverse stakeholders, including industry, governmental scientists, regulators, academic researchers, and consumers. Gaining such varied perspectives advances public knowledge and the practice of food safety for CM products by identifying and addressing data gaps. Research conducted to develop data and methods build the necessary support elements for the emerging ecosystem, which can raise regulatory and consumer confidence, support industry efforts toward commercialization, and improve the evaluation processes of regulatory safety reviews.
Because growing meat through cell culture is so novel a process, many questions about the safety of cell-cultured meat and seafood products remain unanswered.
This industry-wide initiative was designed in partnership with Vireo Advisors to begin a data-driven conversation about the safety of cultured meat.
Fifty cultured meat companies shared previously unpublished details about their manufacturing processes which we used to create a body of publicly available information about how cultured meat is produced and what safety hazards might be introduced along the way.
87 people from 50 cultured meat companies participated in this initiative, representing over 60 percent1 of the global cultured meat industry.
Three workshops culminated in a peer-reviewed paper in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety that charts a path forward for how we can demonstrate the safety of cultured meat.
No NDAs were signed throughout the initiative, making this the first example of collective action in cell ag.
1Percent calculated by dividing the number of companies who participated in the initiative (50) by the number of companies we reached out to (83) in the fall of 2020. Although the number of cultured meat companies is constantly in flux, we assessed it to be around 83 at the time based on publicly available information (i.e. not including stealth companies).
October – November, 2022 – New Harvest and Vireo Advisors initiate new project, CMSI Phase II, to bring together governmental scientists and regulators from 15 jurisdictions globally. See project page for more information.
April, 2022 – New Harvest soft launches phase two with a call for funders after the IPCC asks for more cultured meat safety research in part three of their Sixth Assessment Report.
March, 2022 – Our paper is cited in a United Nations FAO food safety report.
October, 2021 – Our paper is published! The safety preprint is peer-reviewed and published as an open access article in the journal Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. Crucially, no NDAs were signed in the process of writing the paper. New Harvest explains why that’s so important here.
March, 2021 – New Harvest successfully raises $4,000 to ensure the publication remains open access when published in a peer-reviewed journal.
February, 2021 – Data from the workshops is published as a preprint.
September – October, 2020 – New Harvest and Vireo Advisors host three workshops with industry leaders, getting feedback about and iterating upon the process diagram at the heart of the publication.
August, 2020 – New Harvest circulates a project brief to potential funders.
June, 2020 – New Harvest and Vireo Advisors formally begin the initiative.
This initiative was conceived of and carried out in partnership with Dr. Jo Anne Shatkin and Dr. Kimberly Ong of Vireo Advisors, an expert advisory consultancy focused on the safe and sustainable commercialization of new technologies.
We worked with Allen Gunn of Aspiration Tech, a leader in innovative gatherings for nonprofits, to design the three workshops.
This initiative was made possible thanks to the generous contributions of Robert Downey Jr.’s FootPrint Coalition, Tipping Point Private Foundation, Erin Culley and Richard Carlson, and the Center of Complex Interventions.
The publication with our findings will remain fully open access thanks to the generous contributions of Wendy Alcorn.
This initiative’s forthcoming digital tool to increase practical access and use of the publication was made possible thanks to the generous contributions of 29 members of the New Harvest community, including but not limited to: Karin Conradi, Axel Fehr, Kiran Karra, Kira Kiviat, Nicolas Lacombe, Roman Lauš, Jeremy Piacente, Kelly Tessitore, and Tipping Point Private Foundation.