CELL-CULTURED/CULTIVATED MEAT, POULTRY AND SEAFOOD FACTS
The members of the Association for Meat, Poultry and Seafood Innovation (AMPS Innovation), like other companies in our emerging sector, are in various stages of research and development (R&D) phase, while some are in market processes. We are committed to this work as we believe that cell-cultured/cultivated meat, poultry and seafood will be a critical and sustainable component, in partnership with the overall agriculture sector, to meeting increased demand for meat as the world’s population continues to grow. That’s why AMPS Innovation supports the regulatory structure that continues to create a safe, fair and transparent pathway to market, and will support continued innovation in our sector for years to come.
For meat and poultry companies specifically, this means we support joint oversight of their products by FDA and USDA. For seafood, we also support a safe, fair and transparent pathway to market at FDA.
Below, we share answers to common questions about how cell-cultured/cultivated meat, poultry and seafood is made as well as how USDA and FDA are working together to establish a clear, predictable, efficient, and risk-based regulatory framework based on long-standing U.S. policy that we use scientific evidence to govern new food technologies or ingredients, including cell-cultured/cultivated meat, poultry and seafood.
1. Over the past several decades, who has had safety oversight over a host of innovative food products and technologies brought to market?
Cell-cultured/cultivated meat, poultry and seafood companies support FDA oversight over pre-market safety evaluations for cell-based products under the Agency’s existing authorities and consistency with longstanding practice.
FDA has always had oversight over pre-market safety evaluations for new food production processes. USDA regularly works with FDA on meat and poultry food product safety and will continue to do so with cell-cultured/cultivated meat products.
Given the statement by USDA and FDA last fall recognizing their authority to jointly oversee cell-cultured/cultivated meat and poultry, we believe this should continue to be the case for new cell-cultured/cultivated meat and poultry products coming to market.
The FDA has provided No Questions Letters to two cultivated chicken organizations. We will continue to support FDA oversight throughout the regulatory process for seafood and beef products as it has in the past.
2. Are you aware that many cell-cultured/cultivated meat and poultry companies already source cells from animals inspected by USDA?
Cell-cultured/cultivated meat and poultry companies source high-quality cells from tissues of healthy animals.
3. During what process does FDA and USDA determine the transfer of authority for cell cultured/cultivated meat and poultry products?
While USDA and FDA have established an appropriate inspection process for cell-cultured/cultivated poultry. By successfully transferring authority during the tissue harvesting process, we have confidence that they can forge a sensible approach based on their respective areas of expertise for all other cultivated products.
As USDA and FDA have joint regulatory framework for cell-based poultry, we are confident they will identify a more specific point in the production process at which oversight would transfer from FDA to USDA for other cultivated products as well.
Since pre-market safety has been established by FDA and USDA, cultivated products will continue to be regulated, as it does with all other meat and poultry products.
4. Who has sole jurisdiction for the regulation of cell-cultured/cultivated seafood products?
Seafood has always been regulated primarily by FDA, and that will continue to be the case for cell-cultured/cultivated seafood products.
5. Is cell-cultured/cultivated meat technology already used to make common foods found at grocery stores?
The potential risks associated with producing cell-cultured/cultivated meat, poultry and seafood, as well as the controls needed to address such potential risks, are well-understood and not substantially different from other products currently on the market.
In fact, FDA has evaluated and addressed risks related to numerous products developed using cell-cultured/cultivated technologies, including food products on the market today such as yogurt, beer, bread, and cheese.
6. Is cell-cultured/cultivated meat, poultry and seafood safe to eat when cooked properly?
Like any other food company, the safety of food products is paramount to consumer trust and satisfaction. As with any other food product, the regulatory agencies of jurisdiction – in this case both USDA and FDA – will affirm the safety of cell-based products and have already attested the safety of cultivated chicken.
7. Down to the cellular level, is cell-cultured/cultivated meat, poultry and seafood expected to be the same as conventionally-produced meat, poultry and seafood?
We source our cells from cows, pigs, chicken or fish—animals that are already raised for food. Instead of growing the entire animal, we grow just what is needed for the final product. We even feed the cells the same nutrients animals need to grow and thrive.
The only difference between cell-cultured/cultivated meat, poultry and seafood products and conventionally produced products is the process by which the animal parts are grown and harvested.
8. Are cell-cultured/cultivated meat, poultry and seafood considered real meat, plant-based, or meat “alternatives”?
Although animal slaughter is not required to create them, cell-cultured/cultivated meat, poultry and seafood products are not vegetarian.
There are many new vegan and vegetarian products coming to market that mimic meat, poultry and seafood, but they are actually composed of plants and plant-based products. These products are different from cell-cultured/cultivated meat, poultry and seafood, which is grown directly from animal cells and is the same as conventionally-produced meat, poultry and seafood, all the way down to the cellular level.