US Food Regulators Fighting Over Who Gets To Regulate Cell-Cultured Meat

by | July 19, 2018

Who Gets To Regulate Cell-Cultured Meat?

 

There’s a new storm brewing between the agencies who oversee food in the United States, all relating to the emergence of cell-cultured meat that is set to dominate the market as trends unfold.

On July 12th, the FDA held a town hall meeting to hold talks on the new industry that saves animals lives and can revolutionize the way the population views animal agriculture and it’s ‘need’ for it, especially as animal agriculture is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.  The meeting occurred one month after the FDA proclaimed it had regulatory jurisdiction over the products, something the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) bristled at.

The lengthy talks were attended by not only the clean meat creators but the animal agricultural groups, health advocates and animal welfare groups – all in the hopes of determining how the consumer ends with the product in the grocery aisle. Scott Gottlieb, the Federal and Drug Administrations commissioner.

 

Why The Tussle?

The leading pioneers who are creating cell cultured meat are hailing the talks as a success, especially considering that a take over by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) would instill fears that regulation may not be as fair, or possibly even allowed to be named ‘meat’

While hailing it a success, it also highlighted the glaringly obvious that very little is known about the cell cultured meat industry. Claims from the start-ups that the meat would be available as early as next year for public consumption, regulators have claimed that no one has actually seen the product in person for inspection.

“Samples of cultured tissue have not been available for evaluation of the safety, composition, functionality, and sensory properties to understand how it compares to meat from conventional animal production,” said Rhonda Miller, a Texas A&M University professor who often works with the American Meat Science Association.

 

Appeasing The Livestock Industry

The US Pork Producers Council have voiced their opinions on the cell-cultured meat, “Already bearing the brunt of global trade retaliation against American agriculture, US pork producers now face additional headwinds in the form of a regulatory land grab by the [FDA],” they wrote in a statement. The group called upon the USDA to “assert its proper oversight” of cell cultured meat and the use of gene editing in livestock production.

It is speculated that the American president, Donald Trump may weigh in on the issue, in an effort to appease American farmers. However, until then, the FDA appears to be motivated to hold on tightly to the regulations that govern the cell-cultured meat.

 

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