April 29, 2019

New bill would make USDA responsible for “cell-cultured meat and poultry

New bill would make USDA responsible for “cell-cultured meat and poultry”

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) has introduced legislation that would place the regulation, inspection and labeling of “cell-cultured meat and poultry” under the authority of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The new ‘‘Cell-Cultured Meat and Poultry Regulation Act of 2019’’ (S.1056) has been referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee for consideration.

The bill comes after the USDA and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) came to an agreement in March to jointly handle cell-cultured products. Their non-binding agreement states that the FDA would be responsible for overseeing cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation during production. Authority would then switch to the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) during the cell harvest stage. FSIS would then oversee the production and labeling of human food products derived from livestock and poultry cells.

Hyde-Smith, who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee and as chairman of the subcommittee on livestock, marketing and agriculture security, says her goal is to codify this non-binding agreement so that it won’t be subject to revision or termination every three years. “The fact that FDA and USDA have agreed to identify necessary changes to statutory authority confirms the need for a legislative fix, as I’ve proposed,” says Hyde-Smith.

Hyde-Smith's bill would amend the existing Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act and would apply to meat, poultry and any other animal species with cells used in cultured products.

As Feedstuffs reports, the North American Meat Institute and National Cattleman’s Beef Association both support the legislation.