NCBA supports USDA oversight of cell-cultured protein

The Director of Animal Health and Food Safety for the National Cattleman’s Beef Association says the USDA’s expertise in food inspections and labeling makes it the right agency to provide oversight on cell-culture protein products.

Rebecca Barnett tells Brownfield…

“We really want to make sure those products are held to the same inspection standard as real meat, as well as making sure the labeling is accurate, and we are not misleading consumers, so they know what they are actually consuming.”

USDA-FSIS and FDA jointly regulate cell-cultured food products derived from cell lines of livestock and poultry under a 2019 Formal Agreement. FDA oversees the pre-harvest production phase of the animal cell culture technology, jurisdiction then shifts to USDA-FSIS at the point of harvest.

She says the products will be subject to continuous inspection through USDA-FSIS.

“At least each shift or daily that has to be inspected, whereas under FDA, that may be every 3 to 5 years. So, that is important to us, that from a food safety standard, that is continuously checked and up to those standards.”

Barnett says NCBA wants clear labels for cell-culture proteins and is working through August recess.

“To see if we could get something, by the end of this year, introduced in the House and the Senate that addresses the different labeling standards ensuring that there is nothing misleading or misguiding for consumers.”

Brownfield interviewed Barnett during NCBA’s Summer Business Meeting in California.

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