US agencies team up on cell-cultured meat regulations

Monday, 11 March, 2019

US agencies team up on cell-cultured meat regulations

The regulatory oversight of cell-cultured food from livestock and poultry, or cell-based meat, will be shared by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

While some consumers believe cell-based meat is more humane and environmentally friendly than traditional meat, others remain wary about the safety of these products.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the US Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) FDA have announced a formal agreement to jointly oversee the production of these cell-based meat products. The agreement describes the oversight roles and responsibilities for both agencies, and how they will collaborate to regulate the development and entry of these products into commerce.

The agencies agree upon a joint regulatory framework which separates responsibility into pre- and post-harvest. “A transition from FDA to USDA oversight will occur during the cell harvest stage,” the USDA explained in a statement. The FDA will oversee cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation, while FSIS will oversee the production and labelling of human food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry.

“Consumers trust the USDA mark of inspection to ensure safe, wholesome and accurately labelled products,” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Mindy Brashears. “We look forward to continued collaboration with FDA and our stakeholders to safely regulate these new products and ensure parity in labelling.”

“We recognise that our stakeholders want clarity on how we will move forward with a regulatory regime to ensure the safety and proper labelling of these cell-cultured human food products while continuing to encourage innovation,” said Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response. “Collaboration between USDA and FDA will allow us to draw upon the unique expertise of each agency in addressing the many important technical and regulatory considerations that can arise with the development of animal cell-cultured food products for human consumption.”

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