The call is in response to seven US meat bodies, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, collectively submitting a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) be the only regulator for lab-grown meat.
The letter stated the Food and Drug Administration said it planned to assert itself as the primary regulator of cell-cultured products rather than the USDA during its recent public meeting.
However, USCA said the comments made by the US meat bodies in the letter “ignore” the most pressing issues, such as labelling.
“Cell-cultured protein needs to be labelled for what it is – an alternative food product that is not beef or meat as consumers currently know it,” said USCA president Kenny Graner. “As new technologies continue to emerge, a one-size-fits-all governmental approach will simply not work.
“USCA led on this issue in February 2018 by submitting a petition for rulemaking to USDA FSIS requesting that these products not be labelled as beef or meat. USDA needs to continue to engage on this issue by remaining a part of the greater dialogue and issuing a response to that petition.”
USCA added that it would be asking its members to encourage their representatives to find a labelling solution for cell-cultured protein that was both “truthful and transparent”.
French politicians recently voted in favour of banning food producers from labelling vegetarian-based products as a meat item, to avoid confusion among consumers. The move meant French producers are no longer able to use meat terms, such as ‘sausages’ or ‘steaks’, to describe plant-based products.