Executives from the meat industry and the emerging “clean-meat” industry (where animal meat is created in a lab using a small number of animal cells) penned a joint letter to President Donald Trump to urge him to establish a framework that would encourage fair regulatory practices for food production. Clean-meat startup Memphis Meats CEO Uma Valeti and president of meat-industry lobby group North American Meat Institute (NAMI) Barry Carpenter, asked the president to encourage cooperation between the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration to create an equitable system that allows the American public to choose their source of protein, be it from traditional animal agriculture or from new, slaughter-free technologies. “As an industry, we are uncompromising on product safety, and we recognize the importance of consumer transparency,” the letter states. “We support a fair and competitive marketplace that lets consumers decide what food products make sense for them.” Valeti and Carpenter concluded the letter with a request for a formal meeting between the White House, USDA, FDA, and other parties relevant to establishing a regulatory framework that is beneficial to maintain the position of the United States as a world leader in protein production, an industry that will soon include clean-meat products.
Traditional animal meat companies such as Tyson, Cargill, and PHW Group (Europe’s largest producer of chicken products) have all invested in clean-meat companies and technologies, making this regulatory call to action a move that is jointly beneficial to all protein producers. Memphis Meats plans to debut its flagship clean-meat chicken and duck by 2021, while food-technology startup JUST aims to take its first clean-meat products to market by the end of 2018.