By Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
OMAHA (DTN) — After months of debate among livestock groups and the emerging cell-cultured protein industry, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb issued a joint statement Friday announcing that both USDA and FDA will play a role in regulating cell-cultured food products.
The two agencies have held both separate and joint meetings on the issue since last summer after livestock groups demanded USDA take a lead position in inspecting meats derived from cell cultures while leaders in the emerging cell-cultured industry wanted FDA to take a lead role in inspections. Last month, USDA and FDA held a two-day joint meeting on the issue and opened a public comment period that now will be extended to Dec. 26.
USDA and FDA already share roles in the inspection of food. USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service oversees inspection of meat and poultry products, while FDA regulates most other food products.
On Friday, the two agency heads announced an agreement on a joint regulatory framework in which FDA will oversee cell collection, cell banks, cell growth and differentiation. USDA will then oversee the production and labeling of food products derived from cells of livestock and poultry.
“And, the Agencies are actively refining the technical details of the framework, including robust collaboration and information sharing between the agencies to allow each to carry out our respective roles,” the agency heads stated.