Industry News / Food Safety

No Headlines from USDA-FDA Cultured Meat Hearings

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

Oct 25, 2018

There were no official announcements or immediate decisions to come from the first governmental meeting looking into how to regulate cultured meat. Here's a tweet from USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue: 

And so the government ventured ever so carefully into the uncharted waters of meat grown in a petri dish. Maybe there were some clues in that tweet. Like governmental acknowledgement that cultured meat is coming, ready or not; and both agencies may/should have a role in regulating it. 

Representatives of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. spoke, hoping that regulation of the evolving technology will be charged to USDA, not FDA. “Ensuring lab-grown fake meat products are subject to strong, daily inspection by USDA’s trained professionals is essential,” said NCBA President-Elect Jennifer Houston. “The health of consumers is on the line, and USDA is far better suited to ensure the safety of lab-grown products.”

As long as we're talking tweets, there was some interesting Twitter chatter after the meetings.

Very exciting! This is a revolutionary technology, and the countries that incubate this industry will be the leaders decades from now," was one tweet. "I hope the USA is at the vanguard."

Another said, " Whoa! This sounds like laboratory food. I better research. First time I've heard of cultured meat. Where have I been?"

This first public hearing on the subject was held Oct. 23 and 24. It was hosted jointly by USDA and FDA. Topics included potential production hazards, food labeling and marketing claims.