Gene-altered meat is one step closer to the grocery shelves following a recent announcement from the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA approved two genome-edited beef cattle and their calves because their genetic makeup was similar to existing cattle and the trait is natural to some breeds. The FDA said it made a low-risk determination for the meat after determining the international genomic alteration (IGA) do not raise any safety concerns.

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This is the first low-risk determination for an IGA in animals that are used for food.

“We expect that our decision will encourage other developers to bring animal biotechnology products forward for the FDA’s risk determination in this rapidly developing field, paving the way for animals containing low-risk IGAs to more efficiently reach the marketplace,” said Steven M. Solomon, D.V.M., M.P.H., director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

The IGA introduced a short, slick- hair coat to cattle. This type of coat has been found to help cattle handle the hot weather. When cattle are more comfortable with the weather, they are less likely to experience temperature-related stress.

Before the announcement, the FDA has approved IGA’s in animals, but these were for non-food uses. These approvals were with goats, chickens, salmon, rabbits, and pigs.

The FDA said they do not expect farms or facilities that have cattle with the short hair gene to register their cattle with them.  This determination was given to Acceligen.

Acceligen is a prevision breeding company based in Minnesota that uses gene-editing technology to help solve animal health problems.

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