USDA seeks comments on labeling cell-cultured meat 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is requesting comments and information regarding the labeling of meat and poultry products made using cultured cells derived from animals.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) published the advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) on Sept. 2 with a 60-day public comment period. 

“This ANPR is an important step forward in ensuring the appropriate labeling of meat and poultry products made using animal cell culture technology,” said USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Sandra Eskin in a public statement. “We want to hear from stakeholders and will consider their comments as we work on a proposed regulation for labeling these products.”

USDA and FDA announced a formal agreement in March 2019 to jointly oversee the production of human food products made using animal cell culture technology and derived from the cells of livestock and poultry. Under the agreement, FDA will oversee cell collection, growth, and differentiation of cells. FSIS will then oversee the cell harvest, processing, packaging, and labeling of products. FDA and FSIS also agreed to develop joint principles for the labeling of these products under their respective labeling jurisdictions. Seafood, other than catfish, falls under FDA jurisdiction, whereas meat, catfish, and poultry are under FSIS jurisdiction.

In the ANPR, USDA requests comment on specific topics to be considered during rulemaking related to statutory and regulatory requirements for the labeling of these products, including: consumer expectations about labeling, especially in light of the nutritional composition and organoleptic qualities (taste, color, odor, or texture) of the products; names for these products that would be neither false nor misleading; economic data; and any consumer research related to labeling nomenclature for products made using animal cell culture technology.

The ANPR also discusses how FSIS will generally evaluate labels for these products if they are submitted before the agency completes rulemaking.