The key ingredient in San Francisco-based start-up Eat Just’s plant-based egg alternative has been approved by the EU, paving the way for market launch later this year.
Mung bean protein, the main ingredient of the JUST Egg, was initially deemed safe under novel food requirements by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) late last year.
This decision has now been upheld by the Commission, making it the first novel legume protein to be deemed safe under rules which have been governing all new food ingredients in Europe since 1997.
With this assent, the JUST Egg can now enter the markets of countries within the EU and European Free Trade Association. According to Eat Just founder and CEO Josh Tetrick, the company is planning to do so by the fourth quarter of 2022.
He said: “Forward-thinking consumers in Europe have been asking for JUST Egg since the day it launched in the U.S.
“Whether because of climate change, health or a connection to animals, the demand has been significant as has interest from retail and foodservice partners. I’m grateful for the recent approval, which opens the door to begin distribution across Europe before the end of the year.”
Alongside access to a whole new consumer base, the European Commission’s approval also safeguards Eat Just’s proprietary technology within the bloc.
Food companies wishing to use mung bean protein to create egg alternatives in the same way will need to obtain authorisation through the same novel food application process to do so.
The company has yet to receive the thumbs up from UK food ingredients decision makers, however it says it is “actively engaging” with the Food Standards Agency on a regulatory path to market.
This is not the first regulatory hurdle that Eat Just has managed to clear since its founding in 2011. The start-up partnered with Infinite Foods to bring its egg replacement to South Africa in August 2021.
In late 2020, the company also made history following a regulatory approval decision in Singapore which allowed its lab grown meat to be sold in a restaurant.
Speaking on Food Matters Live’s Table Talk podcast at the time, Tetrick said: “All change in entrenched systems starts with something, and we think this is the something for larger scale change.
“The things which seem really bizarre in one moment, end up being the things that everyone does and it has to start somewhere.”
In line with this, the company last month also announced the construction of the largest alt-protein production facility in Singapore.