Speaking at a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) public meeting on lab-grown meat, NCBA director of government affairs Danielle Beck said that the onus should fall under the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s remit.
Beck said: “While NCBA applauds the pointed questions FDA has posed regarding risks, hazards and manufacturing methods of lab-grown meat food products, we believe that the more pertinent question that must first be answered is that of jurisdiction.
“NCBA respects the expertise of the FDA, 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. While there may be some ongoing debate internally among FDA and USDA, NCBA believes that the law governing oversight of Meat Food Products is clear, and that any fair reading of the law places lab-grown meat food products within the primary jurisdiction of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.”
The purpose of the meeting was to raise questions on technology, food safety, substances used in its manufacture and any potential hazards associated with the process.
Beck also raised the issue of inspection of lab-grown produce.
“From a food safety standpoint, it is critically important that all meat food products, regardless of the method of production are subject to the same set of stringent physical, biological and chemical standards; that establishments are subject to the same rules governing sanitation standard operating procedures; and that all establishments are subject to continuous inspection,” Beck added. “These critical food safety oversight objectives can only be accomplished if USDA complies with the law and asserts jurisdiction over cultured meat food products.”
Earlier this year, the NCBA and the US National Farmers Union expressed concern over the labelling of lab-grown meat products. Meanwhile in France, legislation to prevent plant-based food products using meat-related terms such as ‘sausages’ or ‘steak’ was voted in by French politicians.