USDA opens comment period for cell-based meat alternatives

WASHINGTON — Even as products like the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat have been expanding in restaurants and grocery store shelves, the debate on how to label these “alternative” products continues.

Though most alternative meat products available today are primarily plant-based, there’s an effort by USDA to be out in front of the next wave.

This is why USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is requesting comments regarding the labeling of meat and poultry products using cultured cells derived from animals, also known as cell-cultured meat.

These products grown in-vitro are actually from the cell of an animal but simply grown in a lab, ideally producing no byproducts, no waste, and requiring little to no workforce to harvest the meat.

There has been an ongoing debate on what government agency should oversee the production of human food products created using animal cell culture technology.

Two years ago, USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reached a formal agreement whereby the FDA will oversee cell collection, growth, and differentiation of cells.

FSIS will oversee the cell harvest, processing, packaging, and labeling of the products from meat, catfish, and poultry.

All seafood, other than catfish, falls completely under FDA’s jurisdiction

Comments are due in less than 60 days.

(SOURCE: All Ag News)

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