Characteristics of cell-based meat material for labeling, according to the meat lobby

When deciding how to label cell-based meats, the government should base its decision on their characteristics – their meat content – rather than their method of production, trade groups representing meat packers and start-ups have suggested. ups growing meat in lab. The groups raised the issue in a letter to the FDA and USDA on Monday that called for mandatory labeling of cell-based meat.

“Market entry is fast approaching, and there is a lot of interest in regulating these products, particularly with respect to applicable labeling requirements,” said the North American Meat Institute and the Alliance for Meat, Poultry and Seafood Innovation.

The FDA and USDA agreed in 2019 to share regulatory obligations for cell-based meat. The FDA would oversee cell collection, cell banking, and cell growth and differentiation. The USDA would oversee the production and labeling of meat made from livestock and poultry cells. The FDA is solely responsible for overseeing cell-based seafood and has called on the public to comment on how to label it.

A range of farmer and pastoralist groups use terms such as poultry meat, Where to roast should be reserved for the description of the flesh of food animals such as cattle, pigs and poultry. To them, lab-grown meat is fake meat that shouldn’t be sold as meat. The tech companies developing cell-based meat call it “clean meat” that involves no slaughter and requires less land and fewer resources such as water and grain to produce than meat. cattle.

“Historically, in evaluating the labeling of food products developed using new methods or technologies, FSIS (a USDA agency) and FDA have focused on the characteristics of the finished product rather than the process of manufacturing of the food,” the letter from the trade groups reads. Where there is a substantial difference, feed manufacturers are required to state this on the label. But cell-based meats can have a range of final characteristics, so labeling may require careful evaluation, the groups said. “FSIS has indicated that careful consideration of product characteristics is necessary to inform labeling decisions for these products.”

With that in mind, trade groups have urged the USDA to begin the rule-making process so it can gather information about the characteristics of cell-based meat and poultry. “This information will provide FSIS with substantial data… while ensuring that current labeling standards remain high.” Labeling requirements should be mandatory for cell-based meat, they said.

The FDA will accept comments until March 8 on topics such as appropriate names for cell-based seafood, consumer awareness of proposed names for cell-based seafood, and how to evaluate the differences between traditional seafood and cell-based seafood.

“Labelling is closely tied to consumer perception and so the success of this sector will depend to a large extent on the nomenclature used,” Brian Sylvester of the law firm Covington and Burling LLP told Food Navigator when the FDA called for public comment.

An estimated 40 companies worldwide are competing to bring cell-based meat to the consumer. “We recognize that developing rules can take time. It is possible and likely that cell/culture-based meat and poultry products will be ready for market before the FSIS rulemaking process is complete,” the trade groups said. Even so, products would be required to have their labels approved by the USDA before the products go on sale.

To read the letter to the FDA and USDA, click here.

The FDA’s Federal Register Notice on Cell-Based Seafood Labeling is available here.

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