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sector_ico_Agrifood_trans Agrifood

Dairy 2.0 – Exploring policy implications and public perceptions of cellular agriculture

  • Project Leaders: Lenore Newman
  • Institutions: University of the Fraser Valley (UFV)
  • Budget: $45650
  • Program/Competition: Societal Issues Competiton
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome British Columbia
  • Fiscal Year: 2018
  • Status: Closed

The production of milk through cellular agriculture potentially offers numerous benefits to society.  By increasing the supply of dairy products in remote regions where dairy is expensive or unavailable, cellular agriculture holds the possibility of supporting individual nutrition and advancing community food security. Cellular agriculture may also address pressing environmental and ethical concerns associated with conventional dairy production. However, to realize such benefits, an understanding of public perception and potential barriers to adoption is necessary.

Through a consumer perceptions survey, the team found that a strong minority of respondents are willing to try dairy products produced using cellular agriculture for reasons like improved animal ethics and environmental benefits. The research also included interviews with various stakeholders, and greatly increased awareness of these technologies and the lack of accommodating policies within the province. Discussions involved the Agriculture Land Commission, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Office of the Premier, the Supply Management Board, and the Dairy Commission. The outcomes also contributed to the BC Food Security Task Force’s final report through the project leader Dr. Newman’s direct involvement. Furthermore, Dr. Newman has been invited by the Bank of Canada to present to their board on cellular agriculture technology.

The team is committed to continuing its work on cellular agriculture and has established a partnership with the Arrell Institute at the University of Guelph and Cellular Agriculture Canada to expand their research. This will also ensure BC remains a part of the evolving research landscape in this fast-moving area of agriculture technology.