USDA, FDA host joint meeting on cell-based protein products
The Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Food and Drug Administration will hold a joint public meeting October 23 to 24 on the potential hazards, oversight considerations, and labeling of cell cultured food products derived from livestock and poultry, USDA and FDA said in a joint announcement Monday.
The conventional meat industry favors USDA oversight of the cell-based protein industry while the cell-based industry favors FDA, which has already engaged in research on the topic.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) said it was “encouraged” by USDA’s participation in the meeting.
“Consumers depend on a regulatory system that ensures their food is safe and accurately labeled,” said Danielle Beck, NCBA’s director of government affairs, in a statement.
“That is why it is encouraging to finally see USDA involvement on the issue of regulating lab-grown fake meat. USDA’s stringent food safety inspection processes and robust labeling protections make the agency the best choice for leading oversight of these new products.”
“NCBA looks forward to participating in the public meeting and will continue to advocate for USDA’s primary oversight role.”
The meeting will be held on October 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and October 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Jefferson Auditorium in the Agriculture Department South Building, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington. Pre-registration is available on the FSIS website. (See link.)
“This is an important opportunity to hear from the agricultural industry and consumers as we consider the regulatory framework for these new products,” said Agriculture Secretary Perdue. “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,” said Food and Drug Commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
“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,” 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.”
In a joint statement the two agencies said 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. Attendees are encouraged to pre-register to attend the meeting.
Anyone who wishes to submit written comments before the public meeting or after the meeting may do so by submitting comments on regulations.gov by Nov. 26, 2018. Comments previously submitted to FDA in regard to the July 12, 2018 public meeting will also be considered.
–The Hagstrom Report