Developing a smart legal framework for emerging food technologies and future innovation

The pace of change for innovation in food systems alongside uncertainties post-Brexit, and the challenges posed by novel biotechnologies like cell-cultivation and precision breeding in particular, has brought the UK to something of a legislative crossroads.

More precisely, regulatory frameworks to accommodate (or hinder) the placing on the market of novel food tech products like cell-cultured meat are in the process of being adopted in other countries, presenting different regulatory pathways for dealing with new biotechnologies.

Executive summary

  • The UK has an opportunity to develop an agile legal framework that supports both emerging food technologies (food tech) and innovation more broadly.
  • There are challenges ahead around language and labelling – with the capacity to accommodate or hinder innovation in food tech.
  • Businesses need clarity, and they will require skilled support to navigate changes in the legislative and regulatory architecture. A centralised scheme may help with this.
  • Responsive laws and regulations for emerging technologies demand multi-level stakeholder inclusion. The creation and implementation of a cross-departmental unit (a committee or APPG) will support with this.


Dr Mariela de Amstalden, Assistant Professor of Law in Intellectual Property and Innovation, College of Arts and Law, University of Birmingham -

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