NCBA: USDA Should Oversee “Fake Meat”

At a meeting hosted by the Food and Drug administration, an official with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association advocated for the USDA, not FDA, to oversee lab-grown fake-meat products. Danielle Beck, NCBA Director of Government Affairs, spoke during an FDA meeting organized to give interested parties and the public a chance to comment on the technology and regulations associated with lab-grown meat.

In spite of laws that designate the USDA with primary oversight of fake meat, USDA was not given a spot in the public meeting. Beck says NCBA does applaud the questions the FDA has asked regarding risks, hazards, and manufacturing methods of lab-grown meat products. “However, the appropriate agency to ask the questions under discussion today is the agency that will ultimately have jurisdiction over lab-grown meat food products,” Beck says. “Any fair reading of the law places lab-grown meat products within the primary jurisdiction of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.” She says continuous inspection that draws on the scientific expertise of FSIS provides the most stringent oversight of any perishable meat product.

Many promoters of lab-grown meat claim USDA oversight of lab-grown fake meat is unnecessary because animals aren’t harvested. However, USDA inspection is required for all federal meat plants, whether harvesting occurs or not.