Europe’s First Cultivated Seafood is Market-Ready

Germany’s Bluu Seafood has presented its first market‐ready products made from cultivated fish cells, positioned as Europe’s first cultivated seafood products. The company states the alt seafood products will soon be ready to enter the regulatory approval process across its target markets.

Bluu Seafood is concentrating on goods manufactured from fish cells that are developed in specialist facilities, based on the notion that conventional seafood production is nearing its limitations. Compared to cultivated meat, cultivated seafood has a less complicated structural makeup and is more temperature-tolerant, allowing for easier upscaling.

Europe’s first cultivated seafood

Founded two years ago, Bluu Seafood now becomes Europe’s first cultivated seafood startup to present market-ready cultivated seafood products. The first cell-based products developed by the startup are cultivated fish fingers and fish balls, which contain added plant proteins to enhance cooking behavior and texture.

In addition, Bluu Seafood has created early prototypes of more complicated goods including fillets and sashimi. Based on exclusive, non-GMO trout and salmon cell lines, the company’s goods are produced utilising animal serum-free growth media.

Ready to enter regulatory approval

Last month, Christian Dammann, PhD, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Bluu Seafood, told vegconomist in an interview that cultivated seafood products will be on supermarket shelves by 2025.

Europe’s first cultivated seafood products are now prepared for market entry and will shortly enter the regulatory approval procedure. By the end of 2023, Bluu Seafood targets the first approval and market launch in Singapore, where the regulatory framework has already been established. Additionally, the business will apply for approval in the US, the UK, and the EU.

CEO and founder Dr. Sebastian Rakers states: “We can now show tangible and palatable results after less than two years of operational effort with the completion of our first products. As a result, we are now the first business in Europe to manufacture fish under cultivation. In order to prepare the way for a commercial launch, we are now collaborating closely with regulatory bodies while concentrating on scalability.”

Source: Vegconomist





Pandemic Holds Few Lessons for European Chefs, Mostly Misery

Raf Casert and Virginia Mayowrote . . . . . . . . .

Necessity is supposed to be the mother of invention. If that were the case for the high-end restaurant industry, the coronavirus pandemic should have offered ample opportunities for creativity and renewal.

Instead, it is turning into a bitter struggle for survival.

Many a three-star Michelin meal has been put into a takeout box and sent out on Deliveroo scooters, as renowned chefs in Belgium and elsewhere try to scrape through a second pandemic lockdown that is likely to threaten even the lucrative Christmas season.

Sergio Herman, who has run three-star, two-star and many other establishments that have wowed the Michelin powers and the most refined palates around the world, doesn’t really see any positives to come out of working against and around the pandemic.

“Sometimes you feel that whatever you built up over the years is slipping like sand through your fingers. It gives you this kind of fear,” he told The Associated Press.

Across much of Europe, still the apex of the finest dining in the world, exclusive restaurants have lost the precious appeal of the luxury dining experience — from the moment of taking your coat at the door, to eating several inventive courses with the finest silverware, to basking in sommelier tastings, to savoring the after-dinner sweet and having that little extra chat with the chef.

“All that cannot just be replaced by a box and a plastic tray. That is just impossible,” Herman said amid the whirl of his new restaurant, Le Pristine, in the Belgian port of Antwerp, where he mixes the terroir of his native Dutch Zeeland with an Italian approach.

Throughout much of history, religious strictures forced cooks to think outside the box and still produce sterling cuisine despite the limits. Poverty also imposed challenges, and in Italy the creativity to do so much with so little even created its own style — Cucina Povera.

But this pandemic so far mainly has chefs just thinking of how to get through each day.

On a recent day, a man in a face mask was folding pizza boxes and tables were precariously stacked with other takeout material and rolls of labels. On the wall, a list was pasted with addresses and dates of delivery. A box from Le Pristine, without drinks but with a few supplements, can easily push past 100 euros (around $115) a head.

A frenetic energy emerged from its kitchen as his team was trying get around 600 dinner boxes ready by the next day. They held anything from turbot to sea buckthorn, from artichokes to Zeeland mussels.

If there is one thing that defines restaurant owners and staff around the world, it’s their drive, energy and a zest for survival. They more than need that now.

In the Michelin three-star restaurant De Librije, to the north in the Netherlands, chef Jonnie Boer has been offering online classes so people at home can get as close as possible to one of his three-course dinners. A “Librije’s Atelier in your Kitchen” online session goes for 140 euros ($165).

“This way, you can dine in De Librije, cozily in your own living room,” a restaurant statement said, though some might take exception to such a claim for at-home cooks.

Clare Smyth of the two-star establishment Core by Clare Smyth in London said, with the lockdown takeouts and other initiatives, “people really wanted a bit of our restaurants in their own home.” In the end though, “it will never replace coming to a restaurant” for the overall experience of near-perfect cooking and hospitality, she said in a discussion organized by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

One thing unites every side of the debate though — the daily quest to amass even some of the income they lost when their sellout dining rooms had to be suddenly closed or forced into reduced service.

Even if detailed statistics aren’t yet available, the 27-nation European Union saw a precipitous drop of 79.3% in hotel and restaurant activity between February and April in the spring COVID-19 lockdowns. Even though business bounced back over summer, the resurgence of the virus with new lockdowns across Europe this fall amounts to a double blow.

The grapevine has told Herman about a world of pain still to come.

“There will be a lot of hits coming. It will leave its mark,” he said. “A serious amount of companies have already closed and many more will follow.”

He said the industry’s top echelon was especially vulnerable because of its high overhead. He welcomed government measures in much of Europe that were shielding restaurants up to a point and gave staff temporary unemployment pay. But that can only do so much.

“Bills continue to come in,” Herman said, adding that “costs are much higher than at other restaurants, so it can go real fast — that bank account.”

Herman is now involved in eight restaurants, including two two-stars and another one-star eatery. Le Pristine is his latest project.

“Our companies are all healthy, but, hey, you can see that you can get a hit,” he said.

Little wonder he will never look kindly on a virus and certainly not as any lesson to be learned.

“The takeout, the boxes. It didn’t really make me any wiser,” Herman said. “I hope we can get back to normal as soon as possible.”

Source: AP

Research: Europe Took Centre-stage in Global Spread of the Coronavirus

THE University of Huddersfield’s Archaeogenetics Research Group has mapped out the dispersal of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, responsible for the current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, putting Europe centre-stage as the main source of the spread.

The group’s findings, recently published in a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Microorganisms, confirm that the virus originated in China and most likely jumped into humans from horseshoe bats. But that it is Europe, not China, which has been the main source for spreading the disease around the world.

The research also suggests that travel restrictions across Britain and Europe seem to have been too little and too late and that the actual spread of the virus to America and other parts of the world was largely via Europe, and not directly from China.

The study focused on 27,000 virus genomes, sampled from all around the world. The researchers usually work on tracking ancient human migrations using mitochondrial DNA, and they capitalised on the fact that the virus genome is similar in crucial respects.

Still, the mammoth size of the database, even back in May when the study began, makes this one of the biggest analyses of its kind ever undertaken.

The intensive data analyses were carried out by clinical geneticist Dr Teresa Rito and evolutionary geneticist Dr Pedro Soares. Both are based at the University of Minho, in Portugal and have worked closely with the University of Huddersfield’s Professor Martin Richards and Dr Maria Pala, as part of the Archaeogenetics Research Group, on many occasions. The pair called upon the knowledge and expertise of their colleagues in the UK to help make sense of the data and publish their conclusions in double-quick time.

Professor Richards explained how there is a huge ongoing worldwide effort to understand the spread of the coronavirus and that researchers are trying to make their work available to the public as fast as possible.

As the world continues to face a rapidly spreading pathogen, Dr Pala believes a greater understanding of the virus will better inform and improve upon policies designed to control the spread.

“With thousands of lives still at risk,” added Dr Pala, “the need for scientific research is now more crucial than ever.”

Source: EurekAlert!

Study: Coronavirus Came to New York City From Europe, Not Asia

The new coronavirus has been circulating in New York City for longer than previously believed and most cases can be traced back to Europe, a new study reveals.

To come to that conclusion, genetic information about the coronavirus was gathered from nasal swab samples taken from 75 patients at Tisch Hospital, NYU Winthrop Hospital and NYU Langone Hospital Brooklyn, said the NYU Langone Health team.

The findings were submitted to the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data, which promotes the international sharing of data on influenza infections and is now tracking the evolution of the new coronavirus.

“The value of determining viral local sequences is that — the more that become available — the better we can monitor the spread and severity of the disease — and the more it can clarify which drugs, vaccines or social interventions are effective here,” said sequencing team leader Adriana Heguy, director of NYU Langone’s Genome Technology Center.

“We’re just starting this project, but will soon be sequencing 192 viral samples per week with the goal of offering thousands of sequences for analysis in the near future,” Heguy added in an NYU Langone news release.

“This global effort does not just determine the code of a single version of the virus, but tracks how its genetic code changes as it moves through a population, and with what consequences,” explained Dr. Matija Snuderl, director of Molecular Pathology and Diagnostics at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York City.

“As viruses evolve during transmission from person to person, their sequences can help researchers to zero in on the provenance, or place of origin, of that specific infection,” said Snuderl, who leads the clinical testing team.

“Slight changes in the genetic code of a virus that happen during transmission from person to person can help to guide the public health response,” added Matthew Maurano, from NYU Langone’s Institute for Systems Genetics and Department of Pathology.

Source: HealthDay

Today’s Comic

Ikea’s New Meatless Meatballs are Coming to Europe in August

Jon Porter wrote . . . . . . . . .

Ikea’s plant-based meatballs will be available in its roughly 290 European stores starting this August, with other markets set to follow a couple of months later. The so-called “plant ball,” which may or may not be the name on the menu, is designed to both look and taste like meat, but it’s made out of a combination of pea protein, oats, apples, and potatoes. Ikea says the plant ball has a climate footprint that’s 96-percent smaller than its traditional pork-and-beef meatballs. Last year Ikea sold over 1 billion meatballs.

This is not the first meat-free meatball that Ikea has introduced. It began selling a veggie meatball in 2015. However, it says that the new plant ball is designed for customers who want to eat less meat but “without compromising the familiar taste and texture of Ikea meatballs.” The plant balls will be available fresh in Ikea restaurants, where meatballs are typically served with the traditional mashed potatoes, lingonberries and cream sauce. Ikea also says you’ll be able to buy them frozen at their blue box stores to eat at home.

Ikea has also tried out vegetarian versions of its other food. Back in August 2018 the company introduced a vegetarian version of its hot dog, which it says it sold 10 million of in its first year on sale. Then in April 2019, it introduced a vegan version of its strawberry soft ice. [Ed. note: The veggie hotdog and vegan soft ice are confirmed delicious!]

In total, the retailer says that 680 million people ate its food in 2019, which could mean a huge carbon saving if a significant portion switch to plant-based or vegan food alternatives.

The plant ball is part of a wider environmental sustainability push at Ikea that it hopes will make its business climate positive by 2030, meaning that overall it wants to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits. Other initiatives include sourcing the wood for its furniture from more sustainable sources, experimenting with refurbishing products, using more recycled materials, and testing the use of sustainable biofuel for shipping containers that transport its products.

Last year, Ikea says carbon emissions from its materials, production, supply chain, and use of products were down by 4.3 percent, despite sales increasing 6.5 percent. The retailer said this was the first time its environmental footprint has decreased while its business has grown. The use of renewable energy and increases in the environmental efficiency of its products were responsible for the reduced emissions, the company said.

Ikea isn’t the only company getting in on the fake meat craze. Over the past couple of years fast-food chains including Burger King, KFC, and Subway have all experimented with or rolled out plant-based versions of their traditionally meat dishes. Partners leading the way are meatless meat specialists Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat.

Source: The Verge