Ag Policy Blog

Meat Group Seeks Regulatory Compromise on Cell-Based Meat

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent

The North American Meat Institute and Memphis Meats, a San Francisco-based company developing meat that would be produced by replicating cells, on Thursday wrote President Donald Trump to ask that the Food and Drug Administration and the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service share regulatory responsibilities for cell-based “meat.”

The letter notes that existing laws and practices "demonstrate that both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have roles to play in regulating cell-based meat and poultry products. To ensure the regulatory system protects consumers while fostering innovation, it is imperative that the agencies coordinate and collaborate in their efforts, consistent with established policy," the groups state.

“As is the case for other new or novel foods or food ingredients, including those made from or otherwise used in meat and poultry products, FDA should have oversight over pre-market safety evaluations for cell-based meat and poultry products,” the letter says.

“Historically, for evaluations relating to meat or poultry products, USDA has provided input to FDA as part of this process. Given USDA’s expertise in regulating meat and poultry, that role should continue.

“After pre-market safety has been established with FDA, USDA should regulate cell-based meat and poultry products, as it does with all other meat and poultry products, applying relevant findings from FDA’s safety evaluation to ensure products are safe, wholesome, and properly labeled,” the letter said.

The letter also highlights that, "The United States is currently the world leader in protein production, including cell-based meats. But we will not maintain that position without regulatory clarity. As the next step, we respectfully request a combined meeting between the White House, USDA, FDA and both conventional and cell-based meat and poultry industry stakeholders, including the undersigned," which were Memphis Meats and NAMI.

But the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association said, “USCA remains concerned about the use of the term ‘meat,’ but the commitment to come to the table to propose solutions is a step in the right direction. USCA continues to call on everyone in the cattle industry to get involved in this dialogue.”

The letter to the White House: https://goo.gl/…

Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at jhagstrom@njdc.com

Follow him on Twitter @hagstromreport

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