Food safety and quality

Call for experts on cell-based food products and food safety


Cell-based food production methodologies have been well characterized, meaning they are now ready to move from laboratories to production facilities. The world saw its first cell-based beef burger in 2013 and chicken nuggets in 2020. There are now more than 75 start-ups developing various cell-based products around the world. The array of products and commodities is fast expanding to include various types of meat, poultry, fish, aquatic products, dairy and eggs.

The idea is to cultivate animal cells in vitro and then process them while minimizing animal slaughtering. The safety of such products may come to the minds of consumers as could animal welfare issues, food preferences, product price, and environmental considerations. Therefore while government authorities may face various regulatory requirements such as approval mechanisms and labelling rules, among others, they may face a need to develop or refine a regulatory food safety assurance process before such products become available in the market.

FAO’s support to Members will start with providing sound scientific advice for informed food safety decision-making. A 3-day expert consultation will be held in Rome, Italy; Singapore or online in the last quarter of 2022. A wide variety of expertise will be needed to form the expert group. The primary objective of the expert consultation is to develop a technical document with up-to-date technical knowledge on the multidisciplinary topic of cell-based food production, with a focus on the food safety aspects, through the process of expert elicitation.

Call for experts

FAO invites relevant experts to apply for the call for experts on the topic of cell-based food products and food safety considerations. All applications should meet the following general criteria: 

• Advanced University/College degree in cellular/molecular biology, biotechnology, microbiology, food technology, food science, food safety, agricultural science, veterinary medicine, epidemiology, public health, or related fields of cell-based food,

• Experience in researching/developing cell-based food products, scientifically researching food safety issues on cell-based food products/production, or being involved in regulatory reviews of cell-based food products or similar food types existing in the country,

• At least three years, preferably more than five years, of experience in relevant fields, Scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals, in particular publications relevant to this call within the last 10 years,

• Good knowledge of the English language, both written and oral, and

• Evidence of leadership or invited participation in national or international scientific bodies, committees, and other expert advisory bodies pertinent to the scope of this work.

Some examples for the desired profiles of the experts

• Regulatory experts in national competent authorities tasked to manage food safety aspects of new/novel food, food from new sources, or alternate proteins.

• Academic researchers conducting original research or literature reviews on the topic of cell-based food products in both natural science and social science.

• Experts who have conducted substantial literature syntheses on the topic of cell-based foods with global / regional national data.

Resource people

Experts in stakeholder groups (non-government organizations, industry associations and private sector) are also welcome to apply for the call. As discussion of the topic requires specific understanding of the current state of the art in application of the related technology, the first-hand information from industry experts is valuable. FAO plans to form a group of such resource people to advise the expert group during the expert meeting. Resource people will be fully acknowledged and participate in the expert consultation in full, except for the session to develop recommendations.


Phase I application deadline – 30 April 2022

Phase II application deadline – 20 May 2022


Read more in the call for experts


Photo: ©UPSIDE Foods / David Kay

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