USDA tiptoes into cell-based ‘meat ‘ argument

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."

As USDA and FDA agree on oversight, aggies rail against ‘fake meat’

In a step that moves a new industry closer to commercial reality, the premier federal food-safety agencies agreed on Thursday on how to jointly regulate cell-based meat, a laboratory-grown protein that farm groups call “fake meat.” The FDA will oversee cell collection and growth, while the USDA will oversee harvesting and processing, and have final say over labeling.

Four reasons to check out FERN’s SXSW panel on Big Food

Next week, FERN is headed to Austin, where I’m moderating two panels at SXSW! One of them — The Future of Big Food: What’s at Stake? — will take on big questions about where Big Food companies are headed. As eaters increasingly want transparency about ingredients, healthier options, and more sustainable packaging, where does that leave manufacturers? And will new labeling regulations shift the grocery environment? (No paywall)

USDA releases GMO labeling rule

The USDA released rules on Thursday for on-package labeling of bioengineered ingredients. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard will require most food manufacturers, importers, and some retailers to clearly label bioengineered ingredients.

Senators, USDA nominee agree labels should say if it’s animal or cell-based meat

When cell-based meat appears in grocery stores, it should be labeled so that consumers know it came from a lab and not from livestock, two cattle-state senators told the Trump administration’s nominee to run the USDA’s food safety unit on Wednesday.

FDA on ‘fast track’ to assess labeling of non-dairy milks

The Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday that it is moving ahead on modernizing its standards of identity for plant-based dairy alternatives, like soy and almond milks.

Under criticism, FDA changes plan on honey and syrup labeling

It won’t be official for months, but FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb outlined on Thursday a solution to a food-labeling issue that had honey producers buzzing and had tapped the ire of the maple syrup industry.

Industry proposal: USDA and FDA should share oversight of ‘cell-based’ meat

The U.S. meat industry and nascent competitor Memphis Meats agreed on a standard name — “cell-based meat and poultry” — for food produced from lab-cultured animal cells on Thursday and proposed joint FDA and USDA regulation of cell-based meat.

U.S. judge allows lawsuit against USDA withdrawal of organic livestock rule

The USDA spent a decade writing livestock welfare rules for organic farms before, in a regulatory U-turn, it decided last December that it lacked the power to implement those rules. The decision sparked a lawsuit by the organic community. Now a federal judge in San Francisco has rejected the government’s attempt to quash the suit.

Report on organic dairy highlights consolidation, industrialization

A new report from the Cornucopia Institute updates the group’s earlier research on the continuing industrialization of the organic dairy industry. The report includes a consumer scorecard that ranks commercially available dairy products on such metrics as whether the cows have access to pasture, what they’re fed, and whether they’re raised on industrial farms.