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USDA, FDA will jointly regulate cell-cultured meat

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will share regulatory oversight of cell-cultured meat products.

The decision comes after debate over which agency was best positioned to regulate the technology, which produces foods derived from animal cells grown in a laboratory environment rather than from traditional production agriculture.

“This regulatory framework will leverage both the FDA’s experience regulating cell-culture technology and living biosystems and the USDA’s expertise in regulating livestock and poultry products for human consumption,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a joint statement. “USDA and FDA are confident that this regulatory framework can be successfully implemented and assure the safety of these products.”

FDA will oversee cell collection, cell banks and cell growth and differentiation.

Once the process transitions over to the harvest stage, oversight will switch to USDA, which will supervise the production and labeling of food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry.

USDA and FDA are actively refining the technical details of the framework.

The decision was announced after a public meeting was held last month to discuss the use of livestock and poultry cell lines to develop cell-cultured food products.

The public comment period on this topic will be extended and remain open through Dec. 26.

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