NCBA's Colin Woodall Says Fake Meat a Real Threat, Why USDA Should Oversee All Meat ProductsWed, 08 Aug 2018 11:21:39 CDT
One topic of discussion that has seemed to suddenly arise on the beef industry scene is the issue of so called fake meat and which government agency has rightful jurisdiction for regulatory authority over the product. During the 2018 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting that took place in Denver last week, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays sat down with Colin Woodall, lead lobbyist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in its DC office. According to him, this is an issue that needs to be addressed now sooner rather than later.
For beef producers and the industry as a whole, Woodall says the fact of the matter is, if the companies insist that their lab-grown products are from a cellular level the same as natural beef - then their products are susceptible to the same pathogen risks as traditionally produced beef and therefore should be held to the same standards. It is also about creating a level playing field in the industry he says, and protecting that term “beef.” Woodall says the industry does not want to end up in a situation like the dairy industry that has been embroiled in a legal fight over competing products qualifying and identifying them as “milk.”
The issue at hand is that the Food & Drug Administration has taken action to claim jurisdiction over the product arguing that it is produced from science and innovation. However, the NCBA is challenging that claim, insisting that if the product manufacturers wish to compete in the meat market, they should be treated the same as traditional meat and be overseen by the USDA. Woodall says this would ensure the equitable treatment of both meat and fake meat products - alluding to instances of FDA’s relaxed enforcement of plant-based products already under FDA’s oversight. While we are still a couple years from actually seeing these products hit the market, Woodall insists the industry must get out in front of the problem before it becomes more of an uphill battle.
“Bottom line for us, we have to ensure that the lab-grown product is regulated and right now it’s not,” he said. “So, it’s a great opportunity for us to work with President Trump and the White House to make sure we get USDA in that loop, because we continue to hear from these lab-grown fake meat companies that they want to operate in the meat space and that their product is from a DNA standpoint exactly like meat. If that’s the case then they need to be regulated like meat.”
Listen to Woodall and Hays talk more about this unfolding situation and its importance to producers in the beef industry, on today’s Beef Buzz.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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