Senator Asks USDA, FDA about Plans to Oversee In-Vitro Meats

A congressman wants to know how the Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration will oversee cell-cultured meat production before these products become available to consumers.

In an April 24 letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and FDA Acting Commissioner Norman Sharpless, Sen. Mike Enzie , R-Wyo., stressed a regulatory framework needs to be in place by 2021 when these products are slated to hit grocery store shelves.

USDA and FDA both are tasked with overseeing the production of cell-cultured food products derived from livestock and poultry. FDA has oversight of cell collection, cell banks and cell growth and differentiation, and those responsibilities will move to USDA during the cell harvest stage. UDS will then oversee production and labeling of these products.

Enzie requested Perdue and Sharpless “provide specific details on the anticipated content of the information the FDA will provide, including a clear explanation of any implications it may have on the labeling of these novel food products.”

He also urged the two agencies “to prioritize the publication of additional information on this regulatory framework.”

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