In the past few months, many cattle associations were working to support USDA oversight of food safety and labeling regulations of lab-produced “fake meat.” These efforts were rewarded with a Nov. 16 announcement from the USDA and FDA. A joint press release from the two agencies outlined how they plan to work together with each overseeing different aspects of production.
USDA will essentially have primary jurisdiction over the most important facets of the lab-produced product. The FDA will oversee cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation. After cells are harvested, oversight will be transferred to the USDA. The USDA will then regulate production and labeling of fake meat products. Many associations are glad to finally see results, but says there is more work to do.
Colin Woodall, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said, “This announcement that USDA would have primary jurisdiction over the most important facets of lab-produced fake meat is a step in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work to do on this issue to ensure that real beef producers and consumers are protected and treated fairly. We look forward to continuing our work with the Administration and Congress as this moves forward, and we continue to encourage producers to file official comments with USDA and FDA between now and Dec. 26.”
Scott Bennett, director of congressional relations at the American Farm Bureau Federation resounded the good work, but encourages farmers and ranchers to make comments through Dec. 26. “We’re glad that both FDA and USDA are moving forward with a game plan. It’s important that anyone who consumes meat comment because these comments will be taken a look at by FDA and USDA. And from what they glean from those comments will determine how the regulatory protocol is established as we move forward with this technology.”
While shared jurisdiction over fake meat is an important step in the right direction, there is still a lot of work to do on this issue to ensure that real beef producers and consumers are protected and treated fairly. Iowa Cattlemen’s Association will continue to stay engaged on this issue. ICA will submit comments, continue to keep lawmakers informed, and work with the NCBA, the Administration, and Congress at every opportunity to represent Iowa’s cattlemen.