Cattlemen say it should be the USDA overseeing lab-grown fake meat products, not the FDA. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and other leading organizations in the animal agriculture industry (“the Barnyard”) sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump urging him to ensure the USDA acts as the primary regulatory authority over lab-grown fake meat products.
The Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) designates USDA as the main oversight body for emerging lab-grown products. However, in recent weeks the FDA has moved aggressively to assert regulatory jurisdiction over lab-grown fake meat.
“The American people elected President Trump because they trusted him to promote a level playing field for American products around the world,” said Kevin Kester, President of NCBA. “Now, the President has the chance to demonstrate his support for free and fair markets right here at home. By supporting USDA oversight of lab-grown fake meat, the President will protect American consumers and ensure that America’s farmers and ranchers are not disadvantaged in the marketplace.”
In the letter, the Barnyard groups highlight the critical role USDA plays in enforcing the same rigorous food safety and labeling standards for all meat and poultry products.
“Undoubtedly, USDA’s exacting standards impose regulatory burdens on meat and poultry producers – as they should,” the groups wrote. “However, if cell-cultured protein companies want the privilege of marketing their products as meat and poultry products to the American public, in order to ensure a fair and competitive marketplace, they should be happy to follow the same rules as everyone else. Consumers expect and deserve nothing less.”
The groups also questioned the FDA’s “regulatory power grab” and noted that the agency’s actions are inconsistent with a recently-released White House government reorganization plan.