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New Harvest’s Public Comment on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture

The US Department of Agriculture is holding a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21) from September 8 – 9 in Washington, D.C.

New Harvest has submitted a public comment on cellular agriculture to this meeting, which can be read in full below:

Published September 2, 2016 | Updated October 4, 2021 | Erin Kim

Public Comment


Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture Meeting

Submitted by

Isha Datar

CEO, New Harvest 

As the AC21 has been established to inform and advise the Secretary of Agriculture on “the expanding dimensions and importance of agricultural biotechnology,” I would like to inform the committee of an emerging field of research: cellular agriculture.

Cellular agriculture is the production of agricultural products such as meat, milk, eggs, flavors, fragrances, textiles, from cell cultures as opposed to whole plants or animals.

These cell cultures could be microorganisms such as yeast, bacteria, or microalgae, engineered to produce proteins or fats.  For example, omega-3 fatty acids made by algae, or milk proteins made by yeast cultures.

Or these cell cultures could be animal cells cultured to create tissue-based agriculture products, like meat or leather.

I am the CEO of New Harvest, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization funded entirely by individual donations. We are a research institute at the heart of the cellular agriculture community.  We support cellular agriculture through catalyzing research, convening stakeholders, and informing the public.

New Harvest believes that a resilient and food-secure future depends on the coexistence of diverse agricultural production systems. In a world with 1) a population reaching 9 billion by 2050; 2) a growing need for protein; and 3) increasingly unpredictable weather and disease outbreak events, we believe that cell-based systems offer an important opportunity for sustainable and resilient agricultural production worthy of exploration.

New Harvest, founded in 2004, is the leading organization advancing breakthroughs in cellular agriculture. Since the beginning of our work we have engaged, informed, and worked alongside researchers, entrepreneurs, members of large food corporations, US regulators, and research funding agencies via workshops conducted under Chatham House Rules.

We are eager to work with AC21 and the USDA to include cellular agriculture as an important facet of the American agricultural portfolio.

I hope that I may serve as a resource during your ongoing consideration of advanced agricultural biotechnology and welcome the opportunity to engage in these important discussions. I invite members of the committee to contact me at with any questions about cellular agriculture and/or New Harvest’s work.

The AC21 was established to “provide information and advice to the Secretary of Agriculture on the broad array of issues related to the expanding dimensions and importance of agricultural biotechnology. The committee is charged with examining the long-term impacts of biotechnology on the U.S. food and agriculture system and USDA, and providing guidance to USDA on pressing individual issues, identified by the Office of the Secretary, related to the application of biotechnology in agriculture.

In recent years, the work of the AC21 has centered on the issue of coexistence among different types of agricultural production systems. The AC21 consists of members representing the biotechnology industry, the organic food industry, farming communities, the seed industry, food manufacturers, state government, consumer and community development groups, as well as academic researchers and a medical doctor. In addition, representatives from the Department of Commerce, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Council on Environmental Quality, and the Office of the United States Trade Representative serve as “ex officio” members.”

Published by Erin Kim, Communications Director

About the Authors
Erin Kim has been working in cellular agriculture since 2014, when she started out at as one of New Harvest's first volunteers while completing a Juris Doctor at the University of Alberta, Canada. Following the completion of her studies, Erin took on the role of Communications Director full-time, where she brings a down-to-earth approach to translating developments in New Harvest research into accessible content in print and on the web, fundraising communications, media relations, social media, and community outreach.