NCBA Slams FDA Commissioner’s Comments on Cell Cultured Meat

| March 29, 2023

WASHINGTON (March 29, 2023) – Today, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane slammed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert Califf’s comments regarding cell cultured meat that he made during a hearing on the FDA’s fiscal year 2024 budget request:

“By his own admission, the FDA’s role is to ensure food safety, but Commissioner Califf’s comments today indicate that he intends to bring his agency into climate and environmental discussions while promoting cell cultured meat. This viewpoint is extremely disappointing to America’s cattle producers whose stewardship of the land already does more to protect our environment than fake meat production ever will. We appreciate Congresswoman Letlow shining a light on these concerning issues at FDA and hope that Commissioner Califf will reverse course and coordinate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the regulation of these cell cultured substitutes.”


Today, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. During the hearing, Rep. Julia Letlow (R-LA) asked the Commissioner how the agency plans to coordinate with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on pre-market consultation for reviewing cell cultured chicken products. In his answer, Commissioner Califf referenced climate change and the need for additional cell cultured research as a way to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Under a memorandum of understanding signed in 2019, USDA and FDA have joint jurisdiction over fake meat products, with USDA taking the lead on enforcing accurate labeling and food safety. This memorandum was supported by NCBA because of USDA’s expertise in food inspections and labeling.

When FDA announced its second pre-market consultation for cell cultured chicken last week, the agency said that it is “ready to work with additional firms that are developing cultured animal cell food” and “will issue guidance to assist firms that intend to produce human food made from cultured animal cells.” These statements are highly concerning and indicate FDA’s desire to promote additional cell cultured meat products.

Watch Commissioner Califf’s comments here.