‘Fake meat’ regulation concerns Iowa cattle producers

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association has been working diligently in recent months to ensure that laboratory-grown “fake meat” is on a level playing field with traditionally raised beef. In mid-November, ICA’s efforts were rewarded with an announcement from USDA and the Food and Drug Administration regarding joint regulation of both products. A press release from the two agencies outlined how they plan to work together, each overseeing different aspects of production.

USDA will essentially have primary jurisdiction over the most important facets of lab-produced fake meat. FDA will oversee cell collection, cell banks, cell growth and differentiation. After cells are harvested, oversight will be transferred to USDA, which will then regulate production and labeling of fake meat products.

Prior to the Nov. 16 announcement, ICA brought this issue to the national forefront by introducing policy at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association annual meeting. In October, ICA board member Bob Noble and staff member JanLee Rowlett traveled to Washington, D.C., to deliver comments at a joint USDA-FDA public meeting regarding fake meat. ICA is also working at the state level to reinforce the federal work on this issue.

Public comments accepted until Dec. 26
“While shared jurisdiction by the two agencies over fake meat is an important step in the right direction, there is still a lot of work to do on this matter to ensure that real beef producers and consumers are protected and treated fairly,” Rowlett says. “ICA will continue to stay engaged on this issue.”

USDA and FDA are accepting public comment until Dec. 26. Rowlett says ICA will submit comments, continue to keep lawmakers informed, and work with NCBA, the Trump administration and Congress at every opportunity to represent Iowa’s cattle producers. Noble adds, “We want to ensure that reasonable, science-based standards are the basis for the regulatory system of all meat food products, regardless of how they are produced. The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association stands behind the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s call for USDA oversight of cell-cultured alternative protein products.”

Read more of this Wallace’s Farmer article by Sam Fosness by clicking here.