USA – New Culture, a pioneer in precision fermentation, has announced the world’s first Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) certification for its animal-free casein protein.

According to the company, the accomplishment positions New Culture to revolutionize the US dairy-derived cheese market with its safe and sustainable alternative.

Through precision fermentation, New Culture has developed a unique “cow cheese without the cow” product, with its inaugural offering being mozzarella tailored for pizzerias.

This animal-free casein has been determined safe for consumption, paving the way for the company to disrupt the market with a cheese alternative that mimics the appearance, behavior, and taste of conventional dairy.

Matt Gibson, Co-founder and CEO at New Culture, highlighted the significance of this achievement in meeting the evolving standards of today’s consumers.

“Consumers have higher and higher standards for the foods they eat, whether related to dietary preferences, health reasons, sustainability, ethical concerns, or otherwise,” Gibson said.

He emphasized the rapid growth of animal-free foods, which have outpaced the overall food industry since 2018, presenting a substantial opportunity for innovation.

While plant-based cheese has faced formulation challenges in replicating the taste and texture of dairy, New Culture claims to have overcome these hurdles.

The company is scaling its manufacturing capacity in preparation for the first sale of its animal-free mozzarella, slated for later this year.

Gibson explained that casein, a key ingredient in cheese, is notoriously complex, making it challenging to produce an animal-free solution.

New Culture’s breakthrough involves creating animal-free casein powder and combining it with water, plant-based fats, salt, and minerals in the cheesemaking process, resulting in a product that matches the texture, mouthfeel, and performance of conventional dairy.

With GRAS status granted, New Culture is poised to bring its mozzarella to pizza lovers, initially targeting the US foodservice market.

The certification reflects that New Culture’s casein matches the identity and macro-nutritional profile of traditional cow casein, and the manufacturing process is reproducible, industry-standard, and food-safe.

New Culture, known for its commitment to sustainability, utilizes precision fermentation—a proven manufacturing process used for decades in the production of cost-effective, sustainable, and animal-free food ingredients and pharmaceuticals.

The company intends to notify the FDA of its self-GRAS determination shortly.

Recognizing the overwhelming demand for better animal-free mozzarella, especially among non-vegans, New Culture plans to focus on mozzarella initially, with plans to expand into other types of dairy once it establishes a foothold in the market.

The company’s animal-free casein is not only a culinary innovation but also addresses environmental concerns by being free from lactose, cholesterol, trace hormones, and antibiotics while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, land, and water use.

The first restaurant to feature New Culture’s mozzarella will be Nancy Silverton’s acclaimed Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, with plans for expansion to other pizzerias within the US.

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