Food Law Weekly News Roundup 3/15/19

Hot off the press! Policy developments this week saw more opportunities for consumers, farmers, and producers alike.

1. Cell-based meat agreement finalized

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a joint framework for regulating cell-based meat products. The FDA will handle the collection and differentiation of cells in the laboratory, while the FSIS will take over the cell harvesting, production, and labeling. ‘

Cell-based meat, lab-grown meat, cultured meat, and clean meat are all names for human food produced in the laboratory using stem cells from livestock or poultry. These myosatellite stem cells grow into the various tissues in muscles. In 2013 the first lab-grown burger was made, costing $325,000 and two years to produce (and just a few minutes to eat)! Now, the same burger costs less than $12 to create. Quite a stunning evolution that has practical implications for consumers looking for a slaughter-free meat option.

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2. Hemp stakeholders provide input on 2018 Farm Bill regulation

Hemp was federally legalized in the 2018 Farm Bill, having previously been a controlled substance with ties to the regulation of marijuana. The USDA now has primary oversight responsibility for the legal cultivation of this fast-growing plant, used commercially for its versatility, from clothing, textiles, and paper to biofuel and animal feed.

From the USDA, “The Specialty Crops Program conducted a three-hour webinar to solicit public comments on the sections of the 2018 USDA Farm Bill relative to multiple sections dealing with industrial hemp. More than 2,120 connected to the webinar and 46 individuals shared their perspectives and ideas on hemp production with USDA officials”.

The USDA now begins the process of reviewing hemp production proposals by each and every state agricultural department. Major topics of concern include interstate trafficking, testing programs, and farmers’ admittance to adequate banking.

For more info:

3. U.S. gets it first GMO seafood

GMO salmon will soon be coming to a dinner plate near you. AquaBounty’s AquAdvantage salmon to be exact. The FDA has lifted its 2016 ban on this genetically engineered salmon. This specific breed of Atlantic Salmon contains growth hormone from Chinook salmon and DNA from an eel-like fish called ocean pout, allowing it to grow at almost twice the speed of normal salmon with even less food. The approval of this salmon was contingent on labeling bearing indication that it is bioengineered, and findings that it would have no negative impact on the environment.

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Jacob Gersen

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