NASDA adopts right to farm policy, calls for consistent cell-based meat labeling

Right to farm policy supports laws that protect agricultural and forestry operations and facilities from nuisance lawsuits.

September 18, 2023

2 Min Read
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During the recent National Association of State Departments of Agriculture annual meeting, members took action on several key items, including adopting policy to protect farmers’ right to farm and proposing regulatory frameworks for clear, consistent labeling of cell-based meat, poultry and seafood products.

NASDA’s new right to farm policy supports laws that protect agricultural and forestry operations and facilities from nuisance lawsuits.

“The purpose of this new policy is to lessen the loss of farmland caused by nuisance lawsuits which can arise when nonagricultural land uses expand into agricultural and forest areas,” NASDA CEO Ted McKinney said. “Farmers are excellent stewards of the land and resources they use to produce food, fiber and fuel for their communities and the world. Protecting their right to farm is vitally important as we aim to inspire the next generation to consider farming as a career and encourage current farmers to use new technologies and practices.”

The USDA Economic Research Service reports the number of farmers and acres of land in farms is on a downward trend. The U.S. had 2 million farms in 2022, down from 2.2 million in 2007, and the U.S. had 893 million acres of farmland in 2022, down more than 20 million acres ten years earlier.  

Clear labeling for cell-based meat products

During the meeting, NASDA members also advocated for standards that ensure clear and consistent labeling for cell-based meat products, also referred to as cultured meat.

In an action item approved, NASDA members urged the establishment of regulatory frameworks for distinguished labeling of cell-based meat, poultry and seafood products and encouraged the USDA, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and U.S. Food and Drug Administration to analyze the cellular and nutritional properties of these products and indicate the differences, via labeling, between cell-based and conventional products.

“NASDA members are responsible for ensuring agricultural businesses of all sizes and types can thrive, and we have learned, especially through the pandemic, the importance of diversity in agricultural production. Equally important, clarity and consumer confidence in ingredients and labeling must always be upheld, which is the goal of the action item adopted today,” McKinney said. “NASDA encourages federal agencies to discuss and consider regulatory frameworks for these innovative products which accurately reflect differences between them and conventionally raised products.”

In March 2019, USDA and FDA established a formal agreement on how cultured food products would be regulated. In June 2023, the organizations issued the first Grants of Inspection and label approvals to two companies to sell cell-based chicken.

“NASDA members stand ready to work collaboratively with federal agencies on cell-based meat labeling requirements to ensure shoppers can have confidence in what they buy at the grocery store,” McKinney said.

NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries and directors of the departments of agriculture in all 50 states and four U.S. territories. NASDA enhances American food and agricultural communities through policy, partnerships and public engagement.

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