First Animal-Free Milk Protein Approved for Sale in Canada

Regulatory Food Experts view on First Animal-Free Milk Protein Approval for Sale in Canada.

Canadians have a new alternative protein option: animal-free milk. In a first for this country, Health Canada said it has no objection to the food use of Remilk’s beta-lactoglobulin (BLG) protein, which is produced from a genetically modified yeast strain. The protein “does not raise concerns related to food safety,” the department concluded following its assessment.

Canada is the fourth country to allow the sale and use of the Israeli cultured food company’s cow-free milk protein. In February 2023, the United States Food and Drug Administration and the Singapore Food Agency approved its BLG protein, followed by the Israeli Ministry of Health in April.

Health Canada’s “Letter of No Objection” will open the door to various animal-free products, including nutritional bars and beverages, cheese, ice cream and yogurt, and plant-based drinks. The company says these foods will have the same taste and texture as milk while being free of lactose and cholesterol and having a smaller environmental footprint than dairy production.

Remilk makes its BLG protein with precision fermentation, a type of cellular agriculture. It is the first animal-derived protein produced by microbial fermentation that Health Canada has authorized as a novel food, the regulator said on its website.

Food and drug companies have been using precision fermentation to make insulin to treat diabetes and calf-free rennet for cheesemaking since the 1970s. In recent years, a new wave of food tech companies have been using precision fermentation to make a wide range of products, such as bacon, egg whites and lobster.

Stemming from traditional fermentation methods, in which yeast might transform sugars into alcohol or the sugars and starches in bread dough into carbon dioxide, scientists turn microbes into mini-factories to produce specific ingredients.

Our team of emerging food regulatory consultants can assist you in navigating the Canadian market.