“Cell-cultured” is the new US name for meat and seafood grown in a lab

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One of the odd things about meat manufactured in labs is that there doesn’t seem to be a universal name for it. Some refer to it as cultured meat, others call it lab processed, some say it is alt-meat or even clean meat.

Well there appears to be some kind of movement as to a name in the US where the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to call meat grown in laboratories “cell-cultured”. 

This follows a long discussion with some of the major players in the space including, BlueNalu, Finless Foods and Memphis Meats.

It was felt that both “cell-cultured” and “cell-based” would inform consumers of essential facts and would not be misleading, as well as presenting the product in a neutral way.

Memphis Meats, one of the pioneers of clean meat in the US  said it supports “the disclosure of the term ‘cell-cultured,’ in conjunction with the name of the conventionally-produced seafood product, in the statement of identity or name of cell-cultured seafood products.” 

Meanwhile, the Vegetarian Resource Group referred to lab-grown seafood and argued: “The use of a term such as ‘engineered using cultured seafood cells’ would help consumers understand that the product is based on seafood and that seafood cells are used in production. An educational program would need to be developed to inform consumers about the meaning of ‘cultured’ in this context.”

An agreement on a name in the US is one thing, but what about Europe and the rest of the planet? The EU remains pretty quiet on the topic although last year the organisation did make its first-ever investment in cultured meat company as Spanish “Meat4All” project received 2.7 million euros in research and development funding. 

In the UK high profile commentators like Jim Mellon who wrote the boom Moo’s Law on the topic opt for ‘cultured meat’ so it is likely that discussions about names for what could be the future of food for the whole planet are set to rumble on for some time yet.


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