The U.S. Department of Agriculture has requested comments on “the labeling of meat and poultry products comprised of or containing cultured cells derived from animals subject to the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act.” Comments will be accepted until November 2, 2021.

The announcement details the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association’s 2018 petition urging the agency to “limit the definition of ‘beef’ to products derived from cattle born, raised, and harvested in the traditional manner, and thereby prohibit foods comprised of or containing cultured animal cells from being labeled as ‘beef.’” In response to the petition, the agency received more than 6,000 comments “from trade associations, consumer advocacy groups, businesses operating in the meat, poultry, and cultured food product markets, and consumers,” the announcement states. “Most comments opposed the petition overall; however, nearly all generally agreed that cultured meat and beef should be labeled in a manner that indicates how it was produced and differentiates it from slaughtered meat products.”

“Several commenters, both for and against the petition, discussed the nature and source of cultured meat to support their arguments. Generally, commenters in support of the petition argued that cultured meat will not have the same characteristics as slaughtered meat or beef and, thus, should not be marketed as such. Commenters opposed to the petition, however, noted that cultured meat is derived from the same species as slaughtered meat and beef and can be produced with substantially similar characteristics as such products. Many commenters opposed to the petition also argued that the terms ‘meat’ and ‘beef’ were necessary to inform consumers of the texture, shape, and function of certain cultured meat products.”

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