More antitrust lawsuits hit the meat industry. This time, it’s pork.

A class-action lawsuit filed this week on behalf of pork consumers alleges that hog companies have colluded to artificially hike the price of pork — and their profits. The complaint also provides new insight into Agri Stats, a data-sharing company that sits at the center of the wave of antitrust allegations sweeping the meat sector.(No paywall)

Researchers improve texture of cell-based meat

Creating cell-based meat that tastes and feels like muscle cuts from livestock has been one of the challenges of the young industry. Now, a team of researchers at Harvard's engineering school said they have grown rabbit and bovine muscle cells on edible gelatin 'scaffolds' that mimic the texture and consistency of naturally produced meat.

Meat industry challenges California animal-welfare referendum

Eleven months after Californians approved "cage-free" Proposition 12 in a landslide vote, the meat industry asked a federal court in Los Angeles to overturn the referendum that guarantees farm animals more space to move about. The trade group North American Meat Institute says the referendum violates the Constitution, which puts the federal government in charge of interstate commerce.

USDA final hog slaughter rules imperil consumers and plant workers, advocates say

The Department of Agriculture released final rules Tuesday that will shift some inspection responsibilities at hog slaughter plants from USDA inspectors to meatpacking workers and allow plants to speed up processing lines. The overhaul of hog inspection, the agency’s first in 50 years, was …

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)

A ranch that produces not just beef, but medical parts

Just south of the Oregon border in Macdoel, California, the Prather Ranch has made a successful business not just selling top quality beef — but parts for the medical industry. "The hides are used to make purified collagen used in cell research. And the bones? Some have been made into screws for knee surgery," reports Lisa Morehouse in FERN's latest story, produced in collaboration with KQED's The California Report.

A slow-growth chicken favored by industry

To cut antibiotics use in poultry production, large-scale producers are turning to slower-growing heritage chicken breeds, reports Maryn McKenna, in FERN's latest story with EatingWell magazine. It marks a reversal of the recent production model, which emphasized fast-growing birds.

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.