Florida’s DeSantis Bans Lab-Grown Meat

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A chef brushes sauce on a piece of Good Meat’s lab-grown meat at the Eat Just office in Alameda, California on July 27, 2023. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has announced a ban on the selling and distribution of lab-grown meat in the state, the first law of its kind in the United States.

With the ban, DeSantis said he would be saving beef from the “global elite,” reported BBC News.

“Today, Florida is fighting back against the global elite’s plan to force the world to eat meat grown in a petri dish or bugs to achieve their authoritarian goals,” DeSantis said in a press release from the State of Florida. “Our administration will continue to focus on investing in our local farmers and ranchers, and we will save our beef.”

The press release said the state was “taking action” in response to what it referred to as a goal by the World Economic Forum to force people to eat cultivated meat and insects.

“While the World Economic Forum is telling the world to forgo meat consumption, Florida is increasing meat production, and encouraging residents to continue to consume and enjoy 100% real Florida beef,” the press release said.

Arizona, Alabama and Tennessee are looking at similar initiatives, BBC News reported. The U.S. first approved lab-grown meat in 2022.

Eating meat grown in a lab in place of traditional meat has been shown to have the potential to reduce carbon emissions, make more land available for nature and decrease water use.

According to the World Economic Forum, cultivated meat can serve as a more environmentally-friendly and efficient source of food for an expanding global population.

Lindsay Cross, a Florida State Representative of the Democratic Party, referred to the ban as “anti-business and contrary to how we’ve tried to market Florida as a place of free enterprise. We should have more choices for our consumers,” reported The New York Times.

Cultivating meat involves removing cells from live animals and feeding them proteins, salt, fats, sugars, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and allowing them to multiply in large tanks. The meat product produced can then be made into standard shapes, like sausages and patties.

Wilton Simpson, Florida’s agriculture commissioner, said in the press release that the ban was necessary to protect “the integrity of American agriculture” and called cultivated meat “a disgraceful attempt to undermine our proud traditions and prosperity.”

The edible insects lobby has asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to include insect products like mealworms and protein powder made from crickets in its safe ingredients database, BBC News reported.

DeSantis said with the new law he was “fighting against an ideology that ultimately wants to eliminate meat production in the US and around the globe.”

Cultivated meat company Good Meat said in a post on X that it was “disappointed” by Florida’s new regulations.

“In a state that purportedly prides itself on being a land of freedom and individual liberty, its government is now telling consumers what meat they can or cannot purchase,” wrote Good Meat, as reported by The Hill. “The law is a setback for everyone: Floridians who deserve the right to eat whatever safe and approved meat they want; Florida’s technology sector, innovators and entrepreneurs; and all those working to stop the worst impacts of climate change.”

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