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What's in a Name? FDA Requests Info on Labeling of Cell-Cultured Seafood

October 7, 2020, Food Navigator

Brian Sylvester spoke with Food Navigator about the labeling of cell-cultured seafood. Mr. Sylvester says, “USDA has not yet invited public comment on the labelling of cell-cultured meat & poultry but is expected to do so in due course. It is reasonable to expect that USDA will ultimately put out a similar request and will collaborate with FDA on reviewing stakeholder input.”

As for when we can expect a final decision on cultured seafood labelling, he says, “It's too early to anticipate a precise timeline for FDA's decision-making…The first step will be for FDA to gather and analyze the requested data and information, while concurrently aligning on key principles with USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service. We can then expect to hear from FDA on whether it would like additional stakeholder input in the form of a public meeting and/or written comments.”

He adds that while some commentators will likely continue to refer to meat grown outside animals as 'fake' or 'lab-grown' regardless of the name regulators ultimately require firms to use on labels, finding a term that is both accurate and neutral will be critical to the success of the industry. “Labeling ties in critically to consumer perception and so the success of this sector will turn, in large measure, on the nomenclature used,” he says.

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