Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a formal agreement to jointly oversee the production of human food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry.
“The formal agreement announced today solidifies USDA’s lead oversight role in the production and labeling of lab-grown fake meat products. This is what National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has been asking for, and it is what consumers deserve. Under the terms of the agreement, USDA will be responsible for inspecting all facilities that harvest, process, package, or label cell-cultured products derived from livestock or poultry,” said Jennifer Houston, NCBA president. “All product labels will also be subject to USDA’s pre-approval and verification process. We look forward to working collaboratively with the USDA and FDA on next steps, including the development of a more detailed framework concerning the cell harvest stage. Ensuring that all lab-grown fake meat products are safe and accurately labeled remains NCBA’s top priority.”
FSIS and FDA released a formal agreement to address the regulatory oversight of human food produced using this new technology. The formal agreement describes the oversight roles and responsibilities for both agencies and how the agencies will collaborate to regulate the development and entry of these products into commerce. This shared regulatory approach will ensure that cell-cultured products derived from the cell lines of livestock and poultry are produced safely and are accurately labeled.
“Consumers trust the USDA mark of inspection to ensure safe, wholesome and accurately labeled products,” Mindy Brashears, said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety. “We look forward to continued collaboration with FDA and our stakeholders to safely regulate these new products and ensure parity in labeling.”
Under the formal agreement, the agencies agree upon a joint regulatory framework wherein FDA oversees cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation. A transition from FDA to FSIS oversight will occur during the cell harvest stage. FSIS will oversee the production and labeling of human food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry.
“We recognize that our stakeholders want clarity on how we will move forward with a regulatory regime to ensure the safety and proper labeling of these cell-cultured human food products while continuing to encourage innovation,” said Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response. “Collaboration between USDA and FDA will allow us to draw upon the unique expertise of each agency in addressing the many important technical and regulatory considerations that can arise with the development of animal cell-cultured food products for human consumption.”
On Oct. 23 and 24, 2018, FSIS and FDA held a joint public meeting to discuss the use of cell culture technology to develop products derived from livestock and poultry. The public meeting focused on the potential hazards, oversight considerations, and labeling of cell cultured food products derived from livestock and poultry.
To view the recorded webinar from the public meeting on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/newsroom/meetings/past-meetings.