All is Forgiven as USDA, FDA to Hold Joint Meeting on Cultured-Cell Proteins

All is Forgiven as USDA, FDA to Hold Joint Meeting on Cultured-Cell Proteins

Russell Nemetz
Russell Nemetz
Well, alternative proteins, lab-grown meat, plant-based proteins or fake meat-whichever is your favorite term-is a new issue that the U.S. livestock and meat industry is tackling these days. And one that companies like Agri Beef are paying very close attention too.

As a result, USDA and the Food and Drug Administration in October will hold a joint public meeting to discuss the use of cell culture technology to develop products derived from livestock and poultry.

FDA came under fire in July for holding a day-long meeting on the ramifications of the rapidly advancing technology that did not include one USDA representative on any panel. The two agencies are perceived to be in a battle over which will have regulatory authority over the technology that has one foot in the laboratory and one in the barn.

The two-day meeting, hosted by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service and the FDA, will be held on Oct. 23 and 24. It will focus on the potential hazards, oversight considerations, and labeling of cell cultured food products derived from livestock and poultry, the release said.

"This is an important opportunity to hear from the agricultural industry and consumers as we consider the regulatory framework for these new products," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue was quoted as saying. "American farmers and ranchers feed the world, but as technology advances, we must consider how to inspect and regulate to ensure food safety, regardless of the production method."

"The FDA knows just how vital it is to ensure the safety of our nation's food supply and the critical role science-based, modern regulatory frameworks are to fostering innovation. Recent advances in animal cell-cultured food products present many important and timely technical and regulatory considerations for the FDA and our partners at USDA," FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said. "We look forward to the opportunity to hold a meeting with our USDA colleagues as part of an open public dialogue regarding these products."

The first day of the meeting will focus primarily on the potential hazards that need to be controlled for the safe production of animal cell cultured food products and oversight considerations by regulatory agencies. The second day of the meeting will focus on labeling considerations.

Representatives of industry, consumer groups and other stakeholders are invited to participate in the meeting. Pre-registration is available at the Meetings and Events page on the FSIS website. Anyone who wishes to submit written comments prior to the public meeting or after the meeting may do so by submitting comments on by Nov. 26, 2018. Comments previously submitted to FDA in regard to the July 12, 2018 public meeting will also be considered.

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