An estimated 40 companies worldwide are in the race to bring to market cell-based meat — "clean meat" in the eyes of proponents and "fake meat" according to ranchers. Asked if the product qualifies as meat, Deputy Agriculture Undersecretary Mindy Brashears responded, "This is something we will be talking about. That is an important priority for us."
Chief executive Uma Valeti says Memphis Meats, the self-declared leader in a worldwide race to develop cell-based meat, "will be ready to go to market tomorrow," albeit on a small scale, once the U.S. regulatory framework is in place. "Selling even the first plate of meat to a consumer is a big deal," said Valeti.
The Food and Drug Administration held a public meeting Thursday on the safety and labeling of alternative “meat” proteins produced with animal cell culture technology. In a packed room, FDA employees, industry stakeholders, and scientists discussed current trends in the controversial sector, which some imagine could reshape how Americans consume meat. (No paywall)
The field of lab-grown meat is "dynamic," "complex" and "evolving," said FDA leaders in declaring the agency, which regulates most of the food supply, has the technical expertise and the statutory authority to regulate so-called clean meat. The cattle industry protested that the USDA is in charge of meat safety.
More than a century ago, Congress put the USDA in charge of meat safety, including regulation of slaughterhouses and packing plants. A rider on the USDA-FDA funding bill for fiscal 2019, scheduled for a House Appropriations Committee vote on Wednesday, would expand the USDA's food safety portfolio to cover lab-grown meat, variously called clean meat by proponents and fake meat by ranchers.