RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Scientists are getting closer to creating protein in a lab and the USDA and the FDA say the goal is to label it meat in the grocery store.
South Dakota Stockgrowers Association executive director, James Halverson, says “It's not meat, it's something that was cultured in lab in a petri dish."
Labs are growing a protein similar to beef with the goal of getting this in grocery stores and on your dinner table.
Halverson says it could be a problem for the 15,000 cattle producers in South Dakota.
"It could really affect the bottom line of those producers if all of a sudden the big meat packers were able to throw in this cell cultured stuff into the meat case and that would really dip into the demand for meat," explains Halverson.
Halverson also has an issue with how the product could be labeled and marketed.
"We just think that consumers should be able to know the difference and they are going to do whatever they can to disguise it, artificially flavor, color, texture it to make it look as much like meat as possible if they can,” states Halverson. “Obviously it's not meat and it's not going to be the same as meat so we definitely think it shouldn't be labeled as meat and sold at the same counter as meat."
The Food and Drug Administration and US Department of Agriculture hosted a public meeting in October to discuss concerns about the cell cultured protein.
"The USDA and the FDA are going to have joint oversight over the production of it,” says Halverson. “The FDA is going to have oversight of the initial stages of the process when it's in the lab and the cell culturing and things like that and then it will transfer over to oversight from the United States Department of Agriculture when it goes into actual production of the meat, or whatever it's going to be called, and packaging and labeling and all those types of things."
Before anything is approved the USDA is accepting comments from the public.
Monday is the last day for anyone to submit their thoughts or concerns to the USDA.
Here’s the link: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FSIS-2018-0036-0001.