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Bill looks to ensure clear meat labeling standards

House legislation leverages lab and food safety oversight expertise of FDA and USDA for cell-cultured meat.

U.S. Reps. Dusty Johnson (R., S.D.) and Darren Soto (D., Fla.) recently introduced the Food Safety Modernization for Innovative Technologies Act, a bill that would formalize a regulatory framework for food derived from cell culture technology.

Earlier this year, the Trump Administration established an agreement between the Food & Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure food and labeling safety. The bill leverages the lab and food safety oversight expertise of FDA and USDA. As cell-cultured meat technologies progress, this bill will ensure thorough agency oversight to protect consumers and the integrity of product claims, the legislators said.

“South Dakota ranchers already produce a safe, quality product. Anything lab grown should have to meet the same standards for consumers,” Johnson said. “As cell-cultured foods make way to the supermarket, Americans deserve to know exactly what it is they are feeding their families.”

“As consumers continue to seek alternative meat products like cell-based meat, it’s more imperative than ever that we create regulations for food substitutes,” Soto said. “We want to ensure Americans are getting the safe product they sign up for when they’re checking out at the grocery store. I’m proud to introduce this bill with Congressman Johnson and excited to have the support of Florida’s cattle ranchers.”

Under this legislation, FDA would oversee the lab process of multiplying animal-collected cells to make tissue, and USDA would oversee processing, packaging and labeling. Through a coordinated agency process, the secretary of agriculture would have the authority to require prior approval of labels or labeling claims before introduction into the consumer market. The bill also provides protections for misbranded products, including “imitation” products that could confuse consumers.

TAGS: Policy
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