Debate over lab-produced meat expected to heat up in 2021


Debate over lab-produced meat expected to heat up in 2021

The debate over what to call lab-produced or cell-based meat—and how it should be labeled once it comes to market—has been relatively quiet in recent months.

But Danielle Beck with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says it’s likely to heat up again in 2021.

“We anticipate that USDA will be moving forward after the first of the year, doing an Advance Notice for Proposed Rulemaking on cell-culture nomenclature for meat and poultry products that they have oversight for,” Beck says. “So at NCBA, we’re gearing back up.”

Beck says the cell-cultured meat industry is still trying to come up with a name that will sound more palatable to consumers.  She says their latest term is “cultivated meat”.

“If you ask me, ‘cultivated meat’ does not provide consumers with enough information to make informed purchasing decisions. What does ‘cultivated’ mean?  So when it comes times for them to enter the grocery store, how they’re labeled is really going to make a difference—and it’s going to impact consumers’ purchasing decisions.”

Beck says it needs to be made clear to the consumer what they are buying.

“We want them to be differentiated in a way that allows consumers to know, ‘okay, this is real beef, produced the way that God intended’ versus a laboratory-grown product.”

She says NCBA will be doing a consumer survey on the labeling issue, “ensuring that we have some good data to provide to FDA and USDA when the time comes, because do think the consumer perspective matters here.”

Beck spoke with Brownfield during the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasting virtual convention.

AUDIO: Danielle Beck, interviewed by Brownfield’s Meghan Grebner