Labeling for lab meat encouraged

Oct 23, 2020  | 3 min  | Ep4610

Consumers are behind the wheel as the housing sector drives the economy right now.

Grocery store options were limited early in the pandemic but keep expanding as new alternatives fight for shelf space and places in the grocery cart.

This week, two protein providers joined forces in an unlikely pairing to ask the government for clarity.

Peter Tubbs reports.

As cultured meats continue development in the lab, labels for the future products are being discussed.
This week, the North American Meat Institute and the Alliance for Meat, Poultry and Seafood Innovation, which represents stakeholders in the emerging cell-based and cultured meat industry, called on the USDA to develop mandatory labeling standards for future cell-based and cultured meat products.
The two groups are encouraging the development of labeling standards before products become commercially available to give certainty to the evolving business, and speed the rollout of products to consumers once the technical hurdles of lab-grown meat are cleared.
Lisa Keefe, Editor, “To put it very simply words matter what you call something matters. It matters both in terms of marketing, in terms of a general discourse, the consumer's understanding of what the words mean, and also from a legal point of view.” 
The regulatory requirements are complicated. The Food Safety and Inspection Division of the USDA and the FDA share oversight of the new industry. The FDA oversees cell banks, cell collection and cell growth and differentiation. The FSIS takes over compliance at cell harvest, and monitors production and labeling of food products that may one day be sold to consumers.
The regulatory complexity has brought advocates for both the emerging industry and the traditional meat industry to the table. Both sides hope that being involved in the process will lower hurdles in the future, as well as reducing consumer confusion once products hit store shelves.
Lisa Keefe, Editor, “And it's interesting to watch this develop because on the one hand, you're talking about companies that could be seen as being on opposite sides of the aisle, if you will. Uh, and yet they they've established this partnership very early on to present a, uh, a United food chain food supply chain front, uh, to, to regulators in particular who are forging into brand new territory.”

The regulatory groundwork is being laid for products that may not emerge from the lab for years. No cell-based or cultured meat products have been introduced for sale in the United States.
For Market to Market, I’m Peter Tubbs



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