Labelling ‘top priority’ for lab-grown meats, says USCA

By Ashley Williams

- Last updated on GMT

The labelling of lab-grown meat has been deemed a priority for the sector
The labelling of lab-grown meat has been deemed a priority for the sector

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The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) has called on Congress to “enforce truth” in lab-grown meat labelling, by implementing policies to avoid confusion for consumers.

The call is in response to seven US meat bodies, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association​, collectively submitting a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) be the only regulator for lab-grown meat.

The letter stated the Food and Drug Administration said it planned to assert itself as the primary regulator of cell-cultured products rather than the USDA during its recent public meeting.

However, USCA said the comments made by the US meat bodies in the letter “ignore​” the most pressing issues, such as labelling.

Cell-cultured protein needs to be labelled for what it is – an alternative food product that is not beef or meat as consumers currently know it​,” said USCA president Kenny Graner. “As new technologies continue to emerge, a one-size-fits-all governmental approach will simply not work​.

USCA led on this issue in February 2018 by submitting a petition for rulemaking to USDA FSIS requesting that these products not be labelled as beef or meat. USDA needs to continue to engage on this issue by remaining a part of the greater dialogue and issuing a response to that petition​.”

USCA added that it would be asking its members to encourage their representatives to find a labelling solution for cell-cultured protein that was both “truthful and transparent​”.

French politicians recently voted in favour of banning food producers​ from labelling vegetarian-based products as a meat item, to avoid confusion among consumers. The move meant French producers are no longer able to use meat terms, such as ‘sausages’ or ‘steaks’, to describe plant-based products.

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