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Senate Bill Takes Aim at Cell-Cultured Food Labeling

January 20, 2020, Food Quality and Safety

Brian Sylvester spoke with Food Quality and Safety about a bill aimed at safeguarding accurate and transparent labeling of food products created using animal cell-culture technology. Mr. Sylvester says, “When it comes to food tech, both the FDA and USDA have accommodated new innovations into the existing regulatory framework for years: I think this is absolutely the correct approach. It affords developers the predictability and regulatory certainty that is needed for any early-stage technology.”

Legislative activity around labeling has become important, he adds, with states proposing and sometimes passing bills preventing products made of cell- or plant-based artificial meat from being labeled as “meat,” “beef,” or “burger.”

“The ongoing legislative activity at the state level may influence the ongoing regulatory conversation at the USDA which, under its [agreement] with FDA, will be taking the lead on labeling oversight for cell-cultured meat and poultry at the federal level,” Mr. Sylvester says. “Key issues are whether current standards of identities for meat and poultry products apply to cell-based foods, and whether current food law mandates cell-based foods to bear labeling that indicates their unique production method.”

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