NCBA expresses concern over FDA’s comments on cell-cultured protein

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the Food and Drug Administration should focus on food safety when it comes to cell-cultured proteins.

During a House Appropriations Subcommittee budget hearing, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf was questioned about the pre-market consultation for reviewing cell culture chicken products.  “As we look at climate change and supply chain disruptions, the use of biotechnology in food is an area that we’re all interested in,” he says.  “There’s no getting around it, it requires collaboration with the Department of Agriculture because we have split responsibilities here.”

NCBA’s Rebecca Barnett, director of animal health and food safety policy, says the Commissioner’s comments are concerning.  “The focus of FDA in this space should be on food safety,” she says.  “That’s their mission and goal coming out of this.  It should not have any ties to climate or their climate mission and it should not be part of this conversation.”

Barnett says cattle production is far more sustainable than building factories to produce cell-cultured proteins.  “Cattle grazing improves grassland, soil health, and carbon storage through sequestration,” she says.  “Look at cattle grazing to help mitigate the risk of catastrophic wildfires that we see in the West.”

She tells Brownfield a memorandum of understanding was signed in 2019 between the USDA and the FDA to outline the agencies’ jurisdictions over fake protein.  “USDA is the agency that is going to be tasked with the labeling and making sure we are being transparent to consumers,” she says.  “And we’re not deceiving them in any labeling.”

The MOU was supported by NCBA because of USDA’s expertise in food inspections and labeling. 

AUDIO: Rebecca Barnett, NCBA

  • No doubt Rebecca understands that real beef is sustainable and ecologically sound. What folks need to understand is that the 3 letter agency involved has just approved lab grown cell cultures of cell lines that unnaturally proliforate aggrssively like cancer cells for human consumption with no long term studies done for any negative health effects such as promoting tumours, hormone disruption, etc. The scientific issues are not so much about the environment; they are about the fitness of this lab cultured mess to be safe to consume long term and in quantity. And why is it even necessary to make fake meet when plenty of ecological grass fed, grain finished beef US beef is available. And what kind of industrial waste are they feeding these cultured messes with anyway? Is it as good as pasture fed? Tell me again how this could even possibly be healthy food or good for the environment.

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