Fake Meat Fight: NCBA slams FDA’s comments on cell cultured meat

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The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association issued a scathing statement after FDA Commissioner Robert Califf’s comments on so-called fake meat.

Califf told lawmakers during a House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies that additional research is needed on cell cultured meat as a way to mitigate the impact of climate change.

“By his own admission, the FDA’s role is to ensure food safety,” said Ethan Lane, NCBA’s Vice President of Goverment Affairs. “But Commissioner Califf’s comments today indicate that he intends to bring his agency into climate and environmental discussions while promoting cell cultured meat. This viewpoint is extremely disappointing to America’s cattle producers whose stewardship of the land already does more to protect our environment than fake meat production ever will.”

Califf’s comments came during questioning from Rep. Julia Letlow (R-LA), who wanted to know how the agency will coordinate with USDA on pre-market consultation for reviewing cell cultured chicken.

Lane said, “We appreciate Congresswoman Letlow shining a light on these concerning issues at FDA and hope that Commissioner Califf will reverse course and coordinate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the regulation of these cell cultured substitutes.”

A memorandum of understanding signed in 2019 stated USDA and FDA have joint jurisdiction over fake meat products, with USDA taking the lead on enforcing accurate labeling and food safety. This memorandum was supported by NCBA, but the group says guidance issued last week is concerning because it indicates FDA’s desire to

promote additional cell cultured meat products.


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