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Consumer Products

FDA, USDA to share oversight for cell-based meat

by Melody M. Bomgardner
November 20, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 47

09647-polcon3-meatball.jpg
Credit: Memphis Meats
A meatball made from cell-based meat.

Less than two months after holding a joint public meeting about safety and marketing of foods made from cultured meat cells, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture have agreed to share regulatory responsibility for the products. Several start-ups, including Memphis Meats and Mosa Meat, plan to commercialize poultry- and beef-like products made from live cells grown in bioreactors. But until now it was not clear how the production processes or the products would be regulated. The agreement states FDA will oversee cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation processes. Responsibility will transition to USDA during the cell harvest stage. USDA will then have oversight over production and labeling of the food products. Both agencies say that no additional legislation will be necessary. The Good Food Institute, a proponent of the cell-based meat industry, says timely rules will help the U.S. keep pace with advances in Israel, Japan, and Singapore. “This announcement is an exciting indication that FDA and USDA are clearing the way for a transparent and predictable regulatory path forward,” says Jessica Almy, GFI’s director of policy.

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