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VESTED INTERESTS: If The U.S. is a nation of innovation, why aren’t we embracing cell-cultured meat?

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The current U.S. regulatory process for cell-cultured meat is inhibiting us from making progress. This is a massive missed opportunity for a nation that prides itself on being a leader in innovation.

BRIAN KATEMAN: This past December, the city-state of Singapore granted the company Eat Just permission to produce and sell cell-cultured meat. The company debuted the meat during an event at the private social club 1880 shortly after winning government approval. It was the first time cell-cultured meat has ever been served in a restaurant. Unfortunately, the current U.S. regulatory process for cell-cultured meat is inhibiting us from making the kind of progress that Singapore is making. This is a massive missed opportunity for a nation that prides itself on being a leader in innovation.

Consider that typically, U.S. food safety regulation is a fairly lax process, at least compared to some other countries. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) (part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture) released its newly agreed upon standards for the regulatory oversight of cell-cultured meat in 2019 and determined that meat cultured from cells will require regulatory oversight from both entities. It was a long road just to get to this decision, say nothing for how long it will take to move products through the newly designed process. Two years on with still no products on the American market, it’s clear that cell-cultured meat is being held to a higher safety standard than most food products…

Unlike conventional meat, cell-cultured meat is made in sterile environments, with a demonstrably low incidence of microbials and few if any antibiotics are required. And yet, its developers continue to wait with their hands tied for the U.S. government to give them the green light. Treating cell-cultured meat differently from other food products seems to be based on cultural biases about what we consider food, rather than a true evaluation of facts… Cell-cultured meat has the potential to alleviate global problems like climate change and, by extension, food insecurity—issues which the U.S. should be taking a central role in addressing…

Instead of standing in the way, the U.S. could be championing cell-cultured meat as a solution to our urgent public health and environmental crises. As Americans, we like to think of our country as a homeland for innovation, entrepreneurship, and novel ideas. If we want to hold on to that identity, we need to put in the work. Right now, that means expediting innovations like cell-cultured meat that address some of the most pressing issues of our time. The U.S. and the world will be better for it.//  SOURCE…

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