FDA holds July 12 public meeting on foods made with animal cell technology

FDA holds July 12 public meeting on foods made with animal cell technology

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is holding a public meeting in Maryland on July 12 around the food industry's increasing interest and use of animal cell culture technology to produce foods. Though cell culture technologies are now being used more than ever for human therapeutic needs, the food sector is also using this science to create products that resemble conventional meat, poultry and seafood, according to the federal agency. 

The day-long (8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time) public meeting at the Wiley Federal Building in College Park is being will allow the FDA to share its multiple sources of expertise to support safe creation and delivery of these products. The agency said the meeting also gives the public a chance to go on the record about some of the emerging food technologies.

In a joint statement released after the meeting was announced, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb and Deputy Commissioner Anna Abram gave more specific information about the agency's primary food safety concerns, related to the technology, which it is hoping to clarify through contributions from the public on July 12.

"A significant technical challenge with respect to the use of animal cell culture technology to develop foods intended to resemble conventional meat, poultry and seafood products involves the development of the growth medium used to multiply the cells and ensure that they differentiate into the correct cell types," the leaders said in the statement. 

The FDA is seeking particular public input and data on: 

  • Considerations — specific to animal cell culture technology — that should be taken into account when evaluating food produced this way. 
  • Information about manufacturing methods and safety for foods produced by animal cell culture technology.
  • Types of substances used to manufacture such foods. 
  • Considerations to evaluate substances used to make such foods. 
  • Potential hazards associated with animal cell culture technology production of food that differ from  traditional food production/processing.
  • Information about any perceived need to control or place control measures on this type of production. 

The FDA said that the primary focus of the meeting is food safety, though the agency said concerns around elements like labeling for these types of produced foods, also exist and will be taken up in future sessions.

The FDA said it will also disclose its "initial thinking" about how to use existing regulatory tools and policies with animal cell culture technology. The meeting will include presentations and speakers at the outset, as well as public comments. However, it said those attending should first register online to appear either in person or by live webcast. 

Topics: Burger/Steak/BBQ, Chicken, Food Safety, Health & Nutrition, Sustainability

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