Interview with Jordy Sosnowski from Heuros
Zoom in on Heuros’s aims, ethics and hopes for cultivated meat production.
Heuros is an Australian cellular technology company working to produce cultivated meat on a commercial scale muscle cell growth technology. As part of the company’s commitment to bringing healthy, tasty and sustainable meat to consumers, Heuros does not utilise any foetal bovine serums (FBS), blood products, genetic engineering/modification (GE/GM), recombinant growth factors, pluripotent stem cells, steroids or antibiotics in its production.
About Jordy Sosnowski
Heuros Co-Founder Jordy Sosnowski has worked as an Advocacy Director for Action for Dolphins since 2014. Her previous work experience includes positions as a Lawyer for Tenants’ Union of Qld, a Legal Researcher for Michigan State University’s Animal Legal & Historical Web Center and Environmental Justice Australia, as well as a Legal Research Officer for Byron Shire Council. Jordy holds a Master of Laws and a Juris Doctor from Monash University as well as a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from The Australian National University.
Tell us about the story behind Heuros. When did the idea for your venture begin to take shape? And how has it evolved since then?
My name is Jordy Sosnowski, and I’m from a cellular technology company called Heuros. We’re based in Brisbane, Australia. Heuros was first established to develop technology for muscle growth, but we’ve really evolved since then because we’ve applied our technology to the cultivated meat sector—what many of you might know as ‘clean meat’. Heuros has developed technology to stimulate muscle cells to grow that is completely slaughter-free, FBS-free, free from serums, steroids, antibiotics; we don’t reprogram ourselves, and we also don’t use recombinant proteins. All of this is important because what it means is that the cultivated meat that is produced using the Heuros technology will remain completely GM-free throughout the entire production process. The cultivated meat sector really strikes us as a good use for our technology because it has the potential to have such an enormous impact on so many different areas in the world—for example, food safety, animal welfare, and of course, the environment.
From the reduction of food waste and methane emissions to the promise of healthier products developed in safer environments, elaborate on the benefits of cultivated meats over conventional meats.
We have a growing population, and it’s estimated that by 2050 there’s going to be close to 9.7 billion people on the planet. Based on current trends it’s likely that the vast majority of those people are going to want to eat meat, and that’s just completely unsustainable from an environmental perspective. So Heuros’s vision is to enable people to eat meat if they choose to, but without any of the negative health or welfare impacts, and certainly without any of the environmental implications that are associated with conventional meat consumption.
How do you measure and guarantee the quality of your meats?
Our production methods will have to comply with the rules put in place by the government regulatory authorities. In our case, we’re based in Australia which has some of the strictest food safety regulations of anywhere in the world. Heuros technology is created without the use of any genetic modification; we don’t use steroids, hormones, antibiotics at any stage of the production process. Ultimately, this means that the meat that is produced using Heuros technology will be to a very high standard of quality.
Describe your target audience.
Heuros is developing technology to make the commercial production of cell-based meat possible. Hence, we’re a B2B company, and our target audience is other clean meat companies. We don’t necessarily target a specific group of consumers, but it is our hope that, if we’re really upfront and transparent about our production methods, the meat that is produced using Heuros technology is going to appeal to a really broad range of consumers.
Cultivated meats and other forms of cellular agriculture have been subjected to a fair share of scepticism. How are researchers and businesses in the sector working to increase understanding and acceptance amongst critical consumer groups?
We’re really eager to be open about our production process so people can stay informed every step of the way. This is really new technology, so it’s natural for people to have lots and lots of questions. That’s why it’s so good that we’ve got heaps of good organisations working in space to answer them. We’ve got The Good Food Institute, there’s ProVeg International, and here in Australia there’s a wonderful think tank called Food Frontier, so if you have any questions, go and check them out. It’s our hope that if we can give people all of the information they need, they can then make an informed decision—they can do all the weighing up in their minds, and decide whether they eventually want to try the product.
When do you expect cultivated meats will be available on a commercial scale? What still needs to be achieved before you can reach this target?
Small amounts of cultivated meat will likely become available in the next few months for high-profile tastings. Unfortunately, it’s still probably going to be a number of years before you might see cultivated meat on the supermarket shelf. At the moment, Heuros can make modest amounts of cultivated meat—about enough for an Aussie barbecue. But what we really need for commercial release is to scale up production. So what we’re hoping is that with the right amount of investment in the cultivated meat sector, this can happen really soon.
Imagery: (1) Victoria Shes for Unsplash.com, (2) Heuros, (3) Jordy Sosnowski