Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Cattle Producers Direct NCBA Action on Cell-Cultured Products

by Colter Brown

Members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) passed a directive this week at the NCBA Summer Business Meeting to continue the association’s advocacy efforts on transparent labeling and inspection of cell-cultured protein products.

“Cattle producers are not afraid of a little competition, and I know that consumers will continue choosing real high-quality beef over cell-cultured imitations,” said NCBA President Todd Wilkinson, a South Dakota cattle producer. “Our priority is ensuring that consumers accurately know the difference between real beef and cell-cultured products through transparent and accurate labeling. We have already been successful at engaging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct robust inspections and oversight to protect food safety.”

This directive was brought forward by the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, California Cattlemen’s Association, and Florida Cattlemen’s Association and passed at the Summer Business Meeting. All policies passed at this meeting will be forwarded to NCBA’s general membership for a full vote in the fall. This grassroots policy process ensures that NCBA’s policy positions reflect the views of cattle producers.


Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) issued two grants of inspection to companies producing cell-cultured chicken imitation products. These grants of inspection permit companies producing cell-cultured products to sell their products in interstate commerce. While no cell-cultured imitations of beef have received a grant of inspection, we are aware of several companies attempting to create these products.

NCBA previously advocated for USDA oversight of cell-cultured meat and was pleased to see FSIS inspecting these products as opposed to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). USDA inspections occur more frequently and hold these companies to a higher food safety standard. Moving forward, NCBA will be urging Congress to set labeling requirements, so cell-cultured products are clearly distinguishable from real beef and to prevent confusion or misrepresentation about these products.



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