US paves way to get 'lab meat' on plates

November 17, 2018 by Juliette Michel
"Lab meat"'s backers argue avoiding slaughtering animals will reduce both suffering and greenhouse emissions

US authorities on Friday agreed on how to regulate food products cultured from animal cells—paving the way to get so-called "lab meat" on American plates.

The Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration agreed to share regulation of cell-cultured food products, they said in a joint statement, following a public meeting in October.

While technical details have yet to be confirmed, the FDA would oversee the collection and differentiation of cells—when develop to specialized cells— while USDA would oversee production and labeling of food products.

"This will leverage both the FDA's experience regulating cell-culture technology and living biosystems and the USDA's expertise in regulating livestock and poultry products for human consumption," the statement said, adding that the agencies see no need for legislation on the matter.

The question of whether to approve cell-cultured has never really arisen in the US. In fact, several niche "lab-meat" startups already exist, but production costs are very high and nobody has a product that is ready to sell yet.

Californian company Just, known for its eggless mayonnaise, has said previously it plans to sell cell-cultured meat by the end of this year—and told AFP it looked forward to working with the agencies.

Others such as Memphis Meats and Mosa Meat, in the Netherlands, are working to get production costs down—with some backing from the agri- industry.

The backers of "lab meat" argue avoiding slaughtering animals will reduce both suffering and greenhouse emissions—and is a sustainable option to feed growing populations hungry for protein.

"American consumers deserve a wide array of healthy, humane, and sustainable choices," said Jessica Almy, policy director at The Good Food Institute.

But they are locked in disagreement with farming organizations about whether such products can indeed be called "meat."

The authorities have made no statement on that—but the US Cattlemen's Association welcomed the news.

"USDA is going to oversee labeling, which we are ecstatic about because the FDA does not require pre-market label approval... before the products hits the shelves," said spokeswoman Lia Biondo.

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18 comments

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dogbert
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 17, 2018
Good, if this means that lab grown tissues are properly labeled as such in consumer products.
Bad if it means that lab grown tissues are deceptively labeled or unlabeled as such.

Guess we will have to wait and see.
szore88
2.7 / 5 (7) Nov 17, 2018
What could possibly go wrong?
Shootist
2.7 / 5 (7) Nov 17, 2018
What could possibly go wrong?


Probably nothing. Just as GMO is better than original. The only problems are idiots.
szore88
1 / 5 (5) Nov 17, 2018
That's my point... I was being sarcastic.
JaxPavan
3 / 5 (4) Nov 17, 2018
Soylent Green is NOT people.
betterexists
1.7 / 5 (6) Nov 17, 2018
Rather, Separate Big Herbivores and Carnivores of the Forests and then FEED THIS Lab Meat to the Carnivores.
Ship the Excess Herbivores to Walmart & Whole Foods for Human Consumption, since they will multiply, for being away from their predators. In other words, 'Wild Animal Farm' of the Deer etc., under Natural Conditions. Make immense use of Robots for the process.
betterexists
3 / 5 (8) Nov 17, 2018
What could possibly go wrong?

Everything !
Shootist
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 17, 2018
Soylent Green is NOT people.


but it is square.
Phyllis Harmonic
5 / 5 (3) Nov 17, 2018
Mmmmm- yes please! Give me the best of the best! So tender and tasty and none of the guilt! :D
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
3 / 5 (4) Nov 17, 2018
What could possibly go wrong?

Everything !
says betterexists

That's where the problems lie - whole possibilities of things going wrong. A bad chromosome here and there and suddenly your digestive system begins bleeding and you find out that eating this stuff has given you cancer. What do you do - sue the company who makes it?

Live animals were created for the purpose of being food for man - while this junk the agencies want to pass off as food is an abomination. I would not trust it.
Ojorf
5 / 5 (6) Nov 18, 2018
That's where the problems lie - whole possibilities of things going wrong. A bad chromosome here and there and suddenly your digestive system begins bleeding and you find out that eating this stuff has given you cancer. What do you do - sue the company who makes it?

Live animals were created for the purpose of being food for man - while this junk the agencies want to pass off as food is an abomination. I would not trust it.


Guaranteed to contain 0% science.
100% safe for people allergic to facts.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Nov 18, 2018
A bad chromosome here and there


The good point about lab-grown organisms is that the entire DNA is synthesized by a computer, so you can keep checking whether it's still the same organism by comparing the DNA to the original. The company can't hide anything, because anyone can take the meat and do a DNA analysis on it to see whether it's doing anything dangerous.

Unlike with live animals, which aren't routinely DNA tested because there isn't a baseline to compare with, and the animals may develop diseases like BSE, which produce proteins that rot your brain if you eat the meat.
rickenbacker63
5 / 5 (1) Nov 18, 2018
Everything will be fine. Till they find out Human "Lab Meat" is cheaper to make. Soylent Green indeed!
Parsec
5 / 5 (3) Nov 18, 2018
A bad chromosome here and there


The good point about lab-grown organisms is that the entire DNA is synthesized by a computer, so you can keep checking whether it's still the same organism by comparing the DNA to the original. The company can't hide anything, because anyone can take the meat and do a DNA analysis on it to see whether it's doing anything dangerous.

Unlike with live animals, which aren't routinely DNA tested because there isn't a baseline to compare with, and the animals may develop diseases like BSE, which produce proteins that rot your brain if you eat the meat.


The DNA is NOT synthesized in a computer doofus, at least not in anything currently;y proposed. The DNA comes from animals or plants that are well known and forced to grow within specific constraints to look and taste like meat.
adam_russell_9615
5 / 5 (1) Nov 18, 2018


Mmmmm- yes please! Give me the best of the best! So tender and tasty and none of the guilt! :D


I think it is unlikely to make a steak in our lifetime. The closest they will come to real meat is hamburger - if that.
drrobodog
not rated yet Nov 19, 2018
The DNA is NOT synthesized in a computer doofus, at least not in anything currently;y proposed. The DNA comes from animals or plants that are well known and forced to grow within specific constraints to look and taste like meat.

Regardless of where the DNA was derived, wouldn't they map the chosen strain to detect problems before growing vats of meat and again before selling to the public to ensure no problems? Especially if they GMO the strain.
Eikka
not rated yet Nov 23, 2018
The DNA is NOT synthesized in a computer doofus, at least not in anything currently;y proposed. The DNA comes from animals or plants that are well known and forced to grow within specific constraints to look and taste like meat.


There's the obvious difficulty of making more cells to make the meat. Eventually there's going to be mutations, and growing a copy of a copy of a copy is not going to work. This is already a known issue in breweries where the yeast strains keep changing slowly over time and the beer comes out different - our beer is vastly different than the one they had just 50 years ago.

We already know how to sequence a full genome, and how to synthesize one with a computer automated lab, and we know how to inject said genome into a cell emptied of its nucleus to make a copy of an organism. Whatever they choose to use, they will have to sequence its genome and synthesize the strain to multiply it for use in the actual production lines.
Eikka
not rated yet Nov 23, 2018
. The closest they will come to real meat is hamburger - if that.


That's already been done

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