Aderholt talks cell-based foods, USDA moves, next Congress |

Aderholt talks cell-based foods, USDA moves, next Congress

House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., said Dec. 13 that his subcommittee is still discussing what language regarding regulation of cell-based protein should be included in the fiscal year agriculture appropriations bill that Congress needs to finish by Dec. 21, when the current funding bill expires.

The Trump administration has announced that the Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration have a plan to share jurisdiction. But under pressure from the conventional meat industry, House Agriculture appropriators have written a provision that would give the Agriculture Department primary jurisdiction. The cell-based protein industry says that giving USDA primary jurisdiction would prevent FDA from using its expertise in developing the cell-based industry.

His subcommittee is working with FDA and USDA to come up with language that would find “common ground” for both agencies, Aderholt told The Hagstrom Report on the sidelines of a rural broadband event at the Agriculture Department.

Aderholt also said that the question of whether the subcommittee should take any action on Perdue’s plan to move USDA’s Economic Research Service under the USDA chief economist and to move most of the 700 ERS and National Institute for Food and Agriculture employees out of the Washington metropolitan region is still under consideration. Aderholt said Perdue makes a “compelling case” for the changes. But former heads of those agencies, scientists, statisticians and current employees oppose the move and have encouraged appropriators to slow down the process.

Aderholt also said that he will not be ranking member on the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee in the next Congress because he has served a total of six years as either ranking member or chairman – the maximum that Republican rules allow. Aderholt said that he intends to remain “involved with agriculture” and that he expects Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., the current ranking member, to become chairman in January when the Democrats assume control of the House.

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