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NCC submits comments on labeling of cell-cultured meat, poultry products

The National Chicken Council believes cell-cultured products must be marketed in a way that avoids confusion.

The National Chicken Council (NCC) believes cell-cultured products must be marketed in an appropriate manner that clearly conveys their basic nature to consumers and avoids confusion between cell-cultured protein products and traditional animal protein products.

“This approach ensures a neutral playing field wherein consumers are provided truthful information about cell-cultured products so that they may make choices as they deem most appropriate,” said NCC SVP of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs, Ashley Peterson, Ph.D., in comments submitted to USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on its Advanced Notice of Public Rulemaking related to the labeling of cell-cultured meat and poultry products.

NCC’s position toward cell-cultured products is as follows:

•            USDA FSIS should regulate the labeling and safety of cell-cultured products;

•            The Food & Drug Administration should regulate the technical safety of the cell-culturing technology used to create these products and determine whether the results of this technology are or are not approved food additives;

•            It is not appropriate to refer to cell-cultured products using terms such as “clean meat,” nor should these products be named or described in a way that disparages conventional animal proteins;

•            Cell-cultured products should be named or labeled in a manner that clearly discloses the process by which they were made; and

•            Claims that cell-cultured products are superior to conventional animal proteins should be prohibited unless such a claim is substantiated by scientific evidence.

Regarding the labeling of these products, Peterson outlined six recommendations to the agency:

1.           FSIS should establish a codified standard of identity for these products;

2.           A term such as “Cell-Cultured” should be included in the product name on the label;

3.           Cell-cultured products should not be allowed to use defined parts terms, such as “wing,” “leg” or “breast;”

4.           FSIS should require full sketch approval at least until the agency finalizes applicable regulations;

5.           FSIS should work with regulatory partners to ensure that retailers and restaurants also use appropriate terminology when referring to these products; and

6.           FSIS should conduct consumer research to understand how consumers view these products.

The National Chicken Council is the non-profit trade association headquartered in Washington, D.C. that represents U.S. chicken producers, the companies that produce and process chickens raised for meat. Member companies of the council account for more than 95 percent of the chicken sold in the United States.

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