FDA vs. USDA on lab-grown meat

The Food and Drug Administration and the USDA are jockeying for position to oversee regulations of lab grown meat. Meanwhile, the product still needs a clear label.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) to solicit comments and information regarding the labeling of meat and poultry products made using cultured cells derived from animals under FSIS jurisdiction. 

“This ANPR is an important step forward in ensuring the appropriate labeling of meat and poultry products made using animal cell culture technology,” said USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Food Safety Sandra Eskin. “We want to hear from stakeholders and will consider their comments as we work on a proposed regulation for labeling these products.”

The ANPR is requesting comments on specific topics related to statutory and regulatory requirements for labeling these meat and poultry products. 

These include: 

• Consumer expectations about labeling these products, including nutritional composition and qualities such as taste, color, odor or texture of the products. 

• Names for these products that would be neither false nor misleading.

• Consumer research related to labeling nomenclature for products made using animal cell culture technology.

FSIS will use these comments to inform future regulatory requirements for the labeling of such food products. 

According to USDA, other than new labeling regulations concerning this product, FSIS does not intend to issue new food safety regulations for the cell-cultured food products under its jurisdiction. Current FSIS regulations regarding sanitation and hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) systems are sufficient to ensure the safety of products cultured from the cells of livestock and poultry.

The ANPR also discusses how FSIS will generally evaluate labels for these products if they are submitted before the agency completes rulemaking.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has expressed their support for voluntary beef product labels by filing a petition to eliminate the “Product of the USA” label. 

There is a 60-day commenting period on the ANPR. To view the ANPR and information on commenting or submitting information, click here. — Charles Wallace, WLJ editor

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