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.

Top meat and dairy companies emit more than ExxonMobil and Shell, report finds

The world’s top five meat and dairy companies — JBS, Tyson, Cargill, Dairy Farmers of America, and Fonterra — emit more greenhouse gases between them than ExxonMobil, Shell, or BP, according to a new report from the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy and GRAIN.

FDA says it has jurisdiction over lab-grown meat

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 half of meat and fish producers deemed ‘high risk’ for investors

An analysis of 60 global meat and fish producers found that 36 companies worth $136 billion were a "high risk" for investors, because they failed to address a range of sustainability issues including greenhouse gas emissions, animal welfare, antibiotics use, worker conditions, and food safety, said the Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return (FAIRR) Initiative.

More hogs on U.S. farms, and even more to come

The U.S. hog inventory is up 3 percent from a year ago, according to a quarterly report by USDA. Beef and poultry production are also expanding, leading USDA to forecast a nearly 4-percent increase in the meat supply this year. The increase is so large that per capita meat consumption is expected to increase by 5.6 pounds, to 222.4 pounds per person.

Cattle group asks USDA to set label rules for lab-grown meat

The U.S. Cattlemen's Association petitioned the USDA to establish label requirements for laboratory-grown meat and alternative proteins, said the weekly Tri-State Livestock News, of Belle Fourche, S.D. "We look forward to working with the agency to rectify the misleading labeling of 'beef' products that are made with plant or insect protein or grown in a Petri dish," said USCA president Kenny Graner.