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Who regulates lab-grown meat?

A recent article published in Science discusses the current regulatory state of lab-grown meat.


Meat companies in the United States are preparing prototypes for a new kind of meat—the kind that is grown in the lab. Lab-grown meat differs from what is known as imitation meat. Lab-grown meat is made up of animal cells that are grown in the lab to produce the same kind of tissue found in real meat. Imitation meat is generally made of plants that are altered to resemble the flavour and appearance of meat.

Proponents of lab-grown meat contend that not only will fewer animals be killed for their meat, but the secondary effects of reduced chicken farming will benefit multiple sectors, such as the reduction of energy involved in farming as well as the diminished production of dangerous greenhouse gases.

The difficulty in this novel food lies in defining what meat is and regulating it. The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for poultry and livestock, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates cell-based products. A recent bill, however, proposed that the USDA regulate products made from cells of poultry and livestock, and members of the agriculture subcommittee note that they are are not fully knowledgeable in that area to do so. With the quick pace of lab-grown meat technologies being introduced, this ambiguity needs to be resolved so products are market ready.

Written by Monica Naatey-Ahumah, BSc

Reference: Servick, K. (May 10, 2018). As lab-grown meat advances, U.S. lawmakers call for regulation. Science Magazine. Retrieved from



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