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."

FDA to delay ag-water rule until 2022

The FDA will soon announce a two-year delay on a rule setting water-quality standards for large produce farms, said Frank Yiannas, the agency’s deputy commissioner for food safety, on Thursday.

GE salmon cleared for U.S. dinner plates

More than three years after the FDA approved, for the first time, a genetically engineered animal as safe to eat, the government opened the door for AquaBounty Technologies to grow and sell its GE salmon in the United States. A biotech trade group said the fish, which developers say grows twice as fast as as conventional Atlantic salmon on 25-percent less feed, will "contribute to a more sustainable food supply."

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.

GAO urges more government attention to food safety

Congress may need to intervene to assure the high-level coordination of food safety efforts, said the Government Accountability Office on Wednesday in a report listing three dozen “high-risk” areas throughout the government.

Memphis Meats will start small when it gets regulatory green light

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.

Biotech backer Perdue blasts fear-your-food ‘hysteria’

An amorphous “fear-your-food” movement, fed in large part by the ceaseless churning of the internet, could sideline, deter, or even derail the use of such crucial agricultural tools as pesticides and genetically engineered crops and livestock, warned Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday.

Traceability a ‘critical piece’ of the food safety network, says the FDA

In a look back at last November’s recall of romaine lettuce, the FDA says that although “one farm cannot explain the entire outbreak,” it is now able to identify potential sources of E. coli contamination by using technology that can track foods from field to consumer.

USDA opens local offices for three days to work on existing farm loans

About half of the USDA’s local offices will be open for three days, beginning Thursday, to deal with existing farm loans and provide tax documents to farmers and ranchers. USDA employees will not consider applications for new loans, the new dairy support program, disaster relief, or Trump tariff payments.