The nation's leading voice for the meat and poultry industry and an alliance that advocates for new methods of producing high-quality, safe meat, poultry and seafood products directly from cells, wrote a joint letter to USDA calling for the agency to support mandatory labeling of cell-based/cultured meat and poultry products and to solicit input on what that labeling should look like through an Advance Notice of Public Rulemaking.
"As demand for meat, poultry, and seafood increases, the need for nutritious protein, increased productivity, and a more diversified supply chain will soon be greater than ever before. Meeting these needs will require innovative solutions and a clear, science-based regulatory system that supports new approaches to food production and enables greater consumer choice," the North American Meat Institute and the Alliance for Meat, Poultry and Seafood Innovation wrote in a letter to USDA.
The two write that cell-based/cultured technology will complement conventional products on the market.
"The companies developing these products are committed to supporting and complying with principles that ensure labeling is truthful and not misleading, does not disparage cell-based/cultured or conventional products, enables consumers to distinguish between such products, and is consistent with the safety and nutritional qualities of the product," the organizations wrote.
Under a joint framework for regulation of cell-based/cultured meat, poultry and seafood products, which was agreed to by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March 2019, the two agencies will work together to ensure the safety and labeling of cell-based/cultured meat and poultry products. Among other provisions of the framework, FSIS will have oversight of the labeling of cell-based/cultured meat and poultry, as it does for all meat and poultry sold in the United States, while the FDA will oversee the labeling of cell-based/cultured seafood, as it does for most seafood sold in the United States.
In a recent public presentation, the agencies committed to joint principles for product labeling and labeling claims. Today’s letter does not address seafood specifically, but it was shared with the FDA to support the continued collaboration between the two agencies’ responsibilities and processes. Separately, on Oct. 6, 2020, the FDA issued a Request for Information regarding the labeling of cell-based/cultured seafood products.