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The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration will jointly oversee the regulation of cell-cultured food products from cell lines of livestock and poultry.
Getty Images -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration will jointly oversee the regulation of cell-cultured food products from cell lines of livestock and poultry.


Compiled by CBW Staff


On Nov. 16 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced they will jointly oversee the regulation of cell-cultured food products from cell lines of livestock and poultry.

The area of “cellular agriculture” as the biotech field is calling it, has been a top concern for the livestock industry that has questioned the safety regulations and proper labeling of such products. 

Of biggest concern to many producer groups is the potential of lab-grown, cell-cultured protein to be labeled “meat”. 

A joint statement by USDA Secretary Perdue and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb goes further into what can be expected of the two agencies handling of the new product.

 “After several thoughtful discussions between our two Agencies that incorporated this stakeholder feedback, we have concluded that both the USDA and the FDA should jointly oversee the production of cell-cultured food products derived from livestock and poultry. Drawing on the expertise of both USDA and FDA, the agencies are announcing agreement on a joint regulatory framework wherein FDA oversees cell collection, cell banks and cell growth and differentiation. A transition from FDA to USDA oversight will occur during the cell harvest stage. USDA will then oversee the production and labeling of food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry. And, the agencies are actively refining the technical details of the framework, including robust collaboration and information sharing between the agencies to allow each to carry out our respective roles.

“This regulatory framework will leverage both the FDA’s experience regulating cell-culture technology and living biosystems and the USDA’s expertise in regulating livestock and poultry products for human consumption. USDA and FDA are confident that this regulatory framework can be successfully implemented and assure the safety of these products. Because our agencies have the statutory authority necessary to appropriately regulate cell-cultured food products derived from livestock and poultry the administration does not believe that legislation on this topic is necessary.”

North Dakota rancher Kenny Graner who is president of the United States Cattlemen’s Association says his organization is encouraged by the news of a joint regulatory framework. 

 “Now that we have settled on the jurisdiction of these products, it’s time to move on to ensuring a truthful and transparent label for consumers. Our petition for rulemaking to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service on the definitions of ‘beef’ and ‘meat’ must be addressed. We stand by our members and our product, and will continue to work on establishing accurate labeling of cell-cultured products.” 

Colin Woodall, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association had this to say, “ This announcement that USDA would have primary jurisdiction over the most important facets of lab-produced fake meat is a step in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work to do on this issue to ensure that real beef producers and consumers are protected and treated fairly.”

Woodall encourages producers to utilize the extended public comment-period to voice their thoughts on the process moving forward. Comments will be taken by the USDA and FDA until Dec. 26 at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FSIS-2018-0036-0001.