Tokyo, Japan - May 22, 2023 - Japan Association for Cellular Agriculture (JACA), a research group dedicated to cellular agriculture and cultivated food, with over 50 member companies and academia, hosted the first-ever official promotion event for the industry. As one of the world's largest leading global industry associations funded by corporate membership(1), JACA brought together a key member of the Japanese parliament, government officials from Japan and abroad, industry associations, JACA member companies, academia, and media representatives, to foster a better relationship between the related industries, consumers, and stakeholders through transparent communication and policy recommendations.
STAKEHOLDERS GATHERED AT THE EVENT The event featured an introduction of JACA, congratulatory speeches from members of the Japanese parliament and relevant government agencies, and greetings from participating companies. A panel discussion on “The Potential of Cellular Agriculture and Its Significance in Addressing the Global Food Challenges by 2050” was also conducted. The following key persons gave either congratulatory speeches at the event or joined the talk session.
Norihiro Nakayama, The Executive Director of Japan’s Parliamentary Group for Cellular Agriculture, former Senior Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
Masaki Kashihara, Executive Officer, Business Model Transformation, General Manager, Green Business Development, Corporate Division, Ajinomoto Co., Inc.
Kiyoshi Iwama, General Manager, R&D Center, NH Foods Ltd.
Masaharu Shimamura, Chief Food Tech Officer, Diverse Farm
Yuki Hanyu, CEO of IntegriCulture Inc.
Makoto Mitarai, Manager, Maruha Nichiro Corporation
Megumi Avigail Yoshitomi, Representative Director of JACA
The event demonstrated the high level of interest in the area of cellular agriculture in government, politicians, and domestic companies, and discussed the need to further accelerate the collection of information and the compilation of issues for domestic policy recommendations.
Cultivated Food "COOKING" scene
In addition to the agenda above, JACA provided a demonstration of “cookings” (without tastings) of cultivated meat, where attendees experienced the aroma of grilled cultivated meat from various companies, including 3D bio-printed cultivated beef (marbled fat) from Consortium for Future Innovation by Cultured Meat, cultivated chicken from Diverse Farm, cultivated beef from Tokyo Women’s Medical University-Waseda University Joint Institution for Advanced Biomedical Sciences. Cutivated chicken from Tokyo Women’s Medical University-Waseda University Joint Institution for Advanced Biomedical Sciences, and cultivated “foie gras” from IntegriCulture Inc. were also displayed.
Why we cannot hold "Tasting event" in Japan Even though there aren’t any specific rules for the sale or tasting of cultivated food in Japan, JACA avoided providing tasting opportunities during the event for three reasons.
First, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare ("MHLW") has not yet confirmed the safety of the food, and therefore it would be prudent to wait for public tastings to commence in Japan. Second, the only two examples of domestic tastings have so far been carried out as part of “sensory evaluation” by people directly involved in the development, rather than “tasting”, i.e. to provide the food to “anonymous” people. The "sensory evaluation" was hosted either by Integriculture after careful pre-discussions with MHLW (recommended approach by JACA based on consumer acceptance) or by the University of Tokyo under certain internal rules applied to human-related experiments. As the third background, most recently, there has been a flurry of criticism in the entomophagy area, based on certain insufficient communications and misunderstandings between the industry and consumers. In response to this, JACA reiterated during the event that the consideration of safety requirements is the top priority so that consumers do not see safety as being disregarded by the industry because of the desire to create a tasting track record.
About Japan Association for Cellular Agriculture (JACA) JACA aims to contribute to key issues in Japan, such as food security and sustainability, by collecting information, as well as establishing and executing strategies and measures on how Japan should face the growing cellular agriculture industry. JACA is not only active domestically but also aims to contribute to the international discussion by sharing globally its progress in the policy recommendations. For more information, please visit https://www.jaca.jp
(1) The leading global industry associations are AMPS Innovation ("Association For Meat, Poultry And Seafood Innovation," founded by a group of U.S. companies, incorporated in 2022, with nine member organizations), CAE ("Cellular Agriculture Europe," founded in 2021, with 14 member companies, mainly European), APAC-SCA ("APAC Society for Cellular Agriculture," with 12 member companies). Source: Megumi Avigail Yoshitomi, Akira Igata, and Takeo Suzuki, "Future Prospects of Cultivated Food: Technical and Social Approaches to Issues and Implementation in the Popularization of Cultivated Meat," AndTech (to be published in 2023).
For more information on the event, please see below for the details.