Industry groups are encouraging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to support the mandatory labeling of cell-based meat. The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) and the Alliance for Meat, Poultry, and Seafood Innovation (AMPS Innovation) sent a joint letter of suggestions. The two groups ask that USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) solicit more input for what the labeling standards should be. The letter was addressed to Agriculture Undersecretary for Food Safety Mindy Brashears.
“Given this need for further data, AMPS Innovation and NAMI recommend that FSIS first issue an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR)to obtain more information and supporting data on finished product characteristics for cell-based/cultured meat and poultry products, particularly those that may require labeling,” the groups state in the letter. “This information will provide FSIS with substantive data needed to better inform the agency’s decision-making process, while also ensuring that the current labeling standards remain high.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and FSIS agreed to a joint framework of regulation when it comes to cell-based meat products. The agencies decided in March 2019 to work together in the management of safety and labeling standards for the products. FDA is tasked with overseeing cell collection, cell banks, cell growth, and differentiation. The responsibility will pass to FSIS during the cell harvest stage. FSIS oversees the production and labeling of food products that are derived from the cells of livestock and poultry. NAMI and AMPS Innovation appreciate the administrative steps already taken and encourage the same level of cooperation moving forward.
“In just two years, the agencies have engaged stakeholders and taken important steps to establish a clear, predictable, and timely approach to overseeing the production of these products within the existing regulatory frameworks for meat, poultry, and seafood,” the letter reads. “As other countries look to develop principles and standards for cell-based/cultured meat, poultry and seafood products, it is critical that the U.S. government maintain its leadership role.”