The passage – buried in a spending bill that was recently approved by the House of Representatives agriculture appropriations sub-committee but has yet to go before the full House appropriations committee – calls on USDA to develop new regulations covering cultured meat, something industry stakeholders believe is unnecessary.
In a letter sent to every member of the committee, GFI director of policy Jessica Almy, argued that the provision in the spending bill should be struck for at least four reasons:
First, said Almy, who believes that the existing regulatory frameworks are adequate to cover clean meat, a spending bill is the wrong venue to mandate that an agency create new food regulations. "We hope this one is fairly self-explanatory; generally speaking and absent extenuating circumstances, a spending bill should be a spending bill, not someplace to create new law around food technology or on other substantive topics."
Second, she said, this is a matter for FDA and USDA to consider: "They are perfectly capable of using existing regulations to oversee this new method of producing meat."
Third, clean meat companies have not been consulted about this, she claimed. "If Congress would like to discuss their businesses with them, the companies would be happy to do that. If you do have those conversations with these companies or with their investors--which include some of the biggest meat companies in the world--we’re sure you will come to agree that legislation is not needed in this area."
Fourth, unnecessary regulations could slow down innovation, she argued. "Already, there are 15 clean meat companies globally…. Before Congress acts, it should examine the possibility that this new regulatory scheme will harm the US in the technological race forward to clean meat commercialization.”
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