BEIJING — Regulatory experts from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and China National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment (CFSA) met for the first time to discuss the regulatory approval process for cultivated meat.

Organized as a virtual event by the AgFood Future Center of Excellence (AGF) and the Agriculture Food Partnership (AFP), the meeting came a month after FDA’s approval of Upside Foods’ cultivated chicken product on Nov. 16. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) and the China Meat Association (CMA), who are both influencers in China’s protein innovation market, attended the event.

“These meetings provide opportunities for start-ups, financiers and ultimately all players involved in protein innovation,” said Ryan Xue, the chairman of Agfood Future, adding, “This in-depth sharing between the US and China will have far-reaching significance for governments and industries interested in seeing the adoption of food innovation that will help shape food innovation and the future of food in the US, China and the world.”

Jeremiah Fasano, senior policy advisor at the FDA’s Regulatory Review Office who played a key role in Upside’s pre-market approval, provided a keynote at the event. Fasano shared FDA’s ongoing support for food technology innovation, and he encouraged industry representatives to connect “early and often” to strategize plans for food technology development.

“FDA is communicating with different companies, and we are preparing public guidelines for the industry,” Fasano said. “As companies engage with more regulators, more reviews and approvals get completed, adding to the global body of knowledge to jointly promote food technology innovation and food safety.”

China’s representatives said they will be considering consumers’ interest in cultivated products while supporting food technology innovations and conducting food safety tests.

“China will focus more on the food safety assessment of cell-cultivated meat in 2023,” said Yan Song, director of Division III Risk Assessment at CFSA. “In addition, 2023 plans include setting up expert working groups to ensure innovation, industry development, and food safety move forward together.”