Israel’s Aleph Farms has applied for regulatory approval for its lab-made steak in Switzerland, marking the first-ever submission for cultivated-meat to be given the green light in Europe.

The company submitted its application to the Swiss Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) in collaboration with Switzerland’s largest supermarket chain Migros, which first invested in the company in 2019.

The Israeli company said that it will continue to develop a go-to-market strategy that involves distribution and commercialisation of Aleph Cuts through fine dining foodservice outlets in Switzerland.

Later this year, Aleph Farms also plans to launch Aleph Cuts, its cultivated steak products, in Singapore and Israel in limited quantities through tasting experiences, pending regulatory approvals. Singapore was the first country in the world to okay cell-based protein products.

According to research conducted jointly by Aleph Farms and Migros, 74% of Swiss consumers are curious about cultivated-meat, motivated by sustainability and animal welfare concerns.

Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms said: “Food systems affect everyone, and it will take a coordinated effort between regulators, innovators and incumbents to ensure food security in a way that helps humanity live within its planetary boundaries.

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“At Aleph Farms, we carefully consider partnerships that reflect our core values and sustainability commitments. Together with Migros, we are establishing the cow cell as the third category of food products from cattle, alongside beef and milk. We look forward to working closely with Switzerland’s Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office to enable access to both high-quality nutrition and world-changing innovation.”

Switzerland stands outside the European Union (EU), which has not yet approved lab-grown meat.

Seth Roberts, policy manager at the Good Food Institute Europe – the plant- and cell-based alternatives organisation – said that the progress in Switzerland is promising for the industry but the EU should be clearer on its position.

“Once approved by regulators, Swiss consumers will be able to enjoy their favourite beef dishes, made in a way that could slash climate emissions and create space for more sustainable farming. Cultivate- meat represents a huge opportunity for Switzerland to enhance its food security and create future-proof jobs, as it positions itself as a hub for food innovation.

“But it’s striking that Europe’s first-ever cultivated meat application has arrived in Switzerland rather than Brussels. With Italy trying to ban cultivated-meat while countries like the Netherlands invest, Europe is sending mixed messages to companies which need certainty to be able to deliver on their potential.

“The EU must develop a coherent strategy to support the sustainable protein sector and ensure regulatory processes are clear, in order to reap the benefits of cultivated meat.”

Last month, in what was described as a “watershed moment” for the industry, US companies Upside Foods and Good Meat revealed they were to start selling cultivated chicken in the country following a four-year joint regulatory process by the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.