USDA and FDA Will Jointly Oversee Cultured Meat

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

Nov 19, 2018

USDA and FDA on Nov. 16 announced they will jointly oversee the production of cell-cultured food products derived from livestock and poultry, following a joint public hearing on the matter last month.

FDA will oversee cell collection, cell banks and cell growth and differentiation, they reported. A transition from FDA to USDA oversight will occur during the cell harvest stage. USDA will then oversee the production and labeling of food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry.

"This regulatory framework will leverage both the FDA’s experience regulating cell-culture technology and living biosystems and the USDA’s expertise in regulating livestock and poultry products for human consumption," the announcement read. "USDA and FDA are confident that this regulatory framework can be successfully implemented and assure the safety of these products."

Last month, the two agencies held a public meeting to discuss the use of livestock and poultry cell lines to develop cell-cultured food products. Both stakeholders and members of the public shared perspectives on the regulation needed to both foster these innovative food products and maintain the highest standards of public health.

The joint decision, which had been hinted at all along, was reached "after several thoughtful discussions between our two agencies that incorporated this stakeholder feedback." 

The public comment period remains open through Dec. 26.

"Because our agencies have the statutory authority necessary to appropriately regulate cell-cultured food products derived from livestock and poultry, the Administration does not believe that legislation on this topic is necessary," the announcement said. "The Agencies are actively refining the technical details of the framework, including robust collaboration and information sharing between the agencies to allow each to carry out our respective roles."