WASHINGTON — USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced March 7 a formal agreement to regulate cell-cultured food products from cell lines of livestock and poultry.
United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) President Kenny Graner issued the following statement in response:
“The petition for rulemaking submitted by USCA last year has been cited by agency officials as the catalyst for the discussions we are having here today on foods produced using cell-cultured technology. We are encouraged by USDA and FDA preemptively formalizing a joint regulatory framework prior to the commercialization of these products. Further, we’re pleased with language in the formal agreement that will allow USDA FSIS pre-market labeling authority.
“However, we’d like to reiterate our position that the term “meat”, and more specifically “beef”, refers to products derived exclusively from the flesh of a bovine animal harvested in the traditional manner. Under the formal agreement, it appears that USDA FSIS will issue the USDA meat inspection stamp to be used on these products.
“USCA is strongly opposed to the utilization of any of the three purple-inked USDA meat inspection stamps for cell-cultured product. A new stamp should be created for cell-cultured products that is inspected by USDA and by state inspection agencies, using a different format and color ink on the stamp. Neither the Federal or State meat inspection stamps should appear on the cell-cultured protein products, retail packaging or wholesale containers.
“We look forward to continued dialogue with USDA, FDA, livestock stakeholders, and cell-cultured foods manufacturers to implement a regulatory framework that ensures consumer safety and avoids intentional consumer confusion.”