U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) submitted a Petition for Rule Making to USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) on Feb. 9, 2018 requesting “that FSIS exclude products not derived directly from animals raised and slaughtered from the definition of ‘beef’ and ‘meat.’”

Harvard Law School Animal Law and Policy Clinic (Harvard) submitted a Petition for Rule Making to FSIS on Jun 9, 2020 requesting “that FSIS adopt a labeling approach for ‘cell-based’ meat and poultry products that respects First Amendment commercial speech protections.”

FSIS issued its responses to these petitions, dated September 16, 2021. FSIS intends to address the issues raised in USCA’s petition related to labeling of products using animal cell culture technology through the advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) the agency published on September 3, 2021.  That ANPR solicits “comments and information regarding the labeling of meat and poultry products made using cultured cells derived from animals under FSIS jurisdiction [which] FSIS will use . . .to inform future regulatory requirements for the labeling of such food products.”

FSIS denied USCA’s request to add the terms “meat” and/or “beef” to the agency’s Policy Book, and clarified that FSIS does not have the “jurisdiction to regulate the labeling of products derived from sources that are not amenable to the FMIA or PPIA, such as plant-based products.”

FSIS also encouraged Harvard to submit comments to the ANPR which the agency expects to “expand FSIS’ understanding of cell-based products and help inform future rulemaking to establish labeling requirements and will help inform FSIS’ approach to the issues you raised in your petition.”

For those with information to help inform FSIS’ policy and regulations, there is a 60-day period for comment on the ANPR, which is available at the FSIS website.