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New food sources and production / Codex vice-chair Diego Varela learns about plant-based food


On Tuesday 15 February 2022, Diego Varela, Vice-Chairperson of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, visited NotCo, Chile, to learn at firsthand how plant-based products are created. NotCo was established in 2015 and aims to make plant based food look, smell, taste and function like animal based ones. The company uses artificial intelligence to decide how to combine plants to replicate the flavour and texture of animal products whilst maintaining their taste, feel and function.

NotCo, Chile

Diego Varela (left) talks to NotCo staff during company visit

“At Notco, we want to contribute to the development of the new food sector and transformation of the food industry using our first-of-kind Artificial Intelligence technology, we want to share our experience and knowledge with the public sector so that plant-based products are accessible to everyone, everywhere,” said Dr. Rodrigo Contreras, Head of Research.

NotCo, Chile

Examining food production process at Notco

More and more new food products are making their way out to the market, at the same time, new food production systems are also being developed across the world. Governments need regulations to oversee the safety and quality aspects of these new products at the national level and companies working in this field have to deal with the different approaches being taken across the world to understand and regulate these new production systems and new food products.

Mind blowing technology.

Varela chairs a sub-committee of the Codex Executive Committee which is working on an assessment of the range and suitability of Codex tools that could be used to advance work on safety, quality, labelling, nutrition and fair trade practices related to new food sources and production systems. “It was fascinating to see the process at NotCo, the technology, science and passion involved to create these new products is mind-blowing. There is a real need to modernize the regulatory landscape and work together with the private sector and the academia to make sure products offered to consumers are fairly traded and safe for consumption ” he said.


Learn more

Follow updates on the Circular Letters page for the work of the sub-committee