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Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
David Elliott

County Down producer sets out plans to create world's first cultivated Wagyu burger

County Down food producer Finnebrogue has laid plans to create the world’s first "cultivated" Wagyu beef derived from cells from its own cattle herd.

The Downpatrick company, which makes a range of products from sausages to nitrate-free bacon to vegan products, said it has signed a letter of intent with an Oxfordshire-based cultivated meat specialist, Ivy Farm Technologies.

The two companies have agreed to come together to produce cultivated wagyu burgers “once the nascent industry is given the regulatory green light”. Unlike traditionally produced food products, cultivated meat has to go through pre-market authorization from the Food Standards Agency.

In preparation for a relaxing of the rules, Ivy Farm is cultivating cells from the Wagyu cattle herd on Finnebrogue’s County Down estate.

The process of creating the cultivated Wagyu beef burger involves taking cells from Finnebrogue’s herd and cultivating these in fermentation tanks at Ivy Farm’s facility in Oxford. The mince meat is grown and harvested from Ivy Farm’s pilot plant, one which resembles a craft beer brewery.

Jago Pearson, Chief Strategy Officer at Finnebrogue, said the company hasn’t been bound by convention.

“Our task is always to make food that is nutritious, delicious and sustainable for food-loving consumers up and down the land – and so we are excited to strike a partnership with Ivy Farm that will allow us to explore the future potential of cultivated meat. Ivy Farm will be cultivating wagyu beef from cells derived from the herd we keep on our Finnebrogue Estate in County Down, Northern Ireland.

“In time, we are excited to help realise the potential this may bring in producing sustainable food that can feed a growing global population.”

Ivy Farm already produces pork and Aberdeen Angus beef at its facility and Finnebrogue said it could expand to include cultivated meat from Finnebrogue’s venison.

Rich Dillon, CEO at Ivy Farm said consumer demand for sustainable meat is strong.

“This new collaboration with Finnebrogue showcases how cultivated meat can work with traditional farming, helping to reduce the pressure on producers to intensify operations to meet growing demand, while boosting consumer choice. In Finnebrogue we have found a partner who has a long history and track record of producing premium products that do not compromise on taste and quality.

“Cultivated meat is sometimes called cellular agriculture. Ivy Farm grows cells from animals in large fermentation tanks in order to produce real meat that has a healthy, nutritional profile and a more sustainable greenhouse gas footprint.”

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