GFI submits recommendations to FDA for cultivated seafood labeling regulation

Sensible and carefully considered regulation of cultivated seafood will be essential to creating a sustainable, secure, and just food system.
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As global demand for seafood continues to grow and fisheries are depleted, alternative seafood has the potential to meet this growing demand as part of a more sustainable, secure, and just global food system. With cultivated fish and shellfish—seafood products made from cultivated cells—poised to enter the U.S. marketplace as early as this year, regulators are turning their attention to these new foods. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authority to make regulations and guidance to govern the labeling of cultivated seafood. In a March 2019 Formal Agreement, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) and the FDA agreed to develop joint principles for labeling products developed with cell-culture technology. In October 2020, the FDA published a Request for Information (RFI) inviting comments to help it determine what type of action, if any, it should take to ensure proper labeling of cultivated seafood. 

GFI believes that sensible and carefully considered regulation of cultivated seafood will be essential to creating the food marketplace of the future, in which consumers may choose among safe, nutritious options of greater variety than ever before. We submitted comments in response to the FDA’s RFI, encouraging the FDA to move carefully in regulating the labeling of cultivated seafood products, and specifically to: 

To create a sustainable, secure, and just global protein supply, we need a variety of protein sources. Alternative seafood offers an opportunity to sustainably meet the growing global demand for protein. But to have a meaningful impact, consumers must be able to recognize these products. 

By submitting this comment to the FDA, GFI aims to ensure a fair regulatory framework for cultivated seafood—and alternative proteins more broadly—so that producers do not face restrictive labeling barriers and consumers can easily recognize and adopt these products.

Author

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Laura Braden, J.D. LEAD REGULATORY COUNSEL

Laura Braden works on domestic and global regulatory issues affecting cultivated meat and plant-based foods. Areas of expertise: U.S. and global regulation, patents, litigation.