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Selling lab-grown meat in Florida could now get you jailed

One company authorized to sell cultivated meat in the U.S. blasted the law, saying it was designed to help out ‘Big Ag’


The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the sale of cell-cultured chicken by two companies a little more than a year ago, allowing those businesses to sell lab-grown meat to Americans.

But now, if you sell, manufacture, or distribute cultivated meat in Florida, you would be breaking the law. If found guilty, you could face 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the law (SB 1084) on May 1st, and it went into effect last week, making the Sunshine State the first in the nation to ban lab-grown meat (Alabama became the second state to do so later in May, but its law won’t go into effect until October).

Tampa Republican state Sen. Jay Collins sponsored the bill in conjunction with the Florida Department of Agriculture during the 2024 legislative session, saying his motivation was to protect Florida consumers.

“There are many concerns right here and, until we have those studies and there’s proof positive that this process is going to work, we want to ban this in the state of Florida because it’s just not there quite yet,” Collins told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government in February.

Cultivated meat is animal meat (including seafood and organ meats) produced by growing animal cells directly. This eliminates the need to raise animals for food. According to the Good Food Institute, cultivated meat is made of the same cell types that can be arranged in the same or similar structure as animal tissues, thus replicating the sensory and nutritional profiles of conventional meat.

Last Thursday night, Upside Foods, one of two companies allowed by the USDA to sell cultivated meat, held a “Freedom of Food” pop-up event in Miami’s Wynwood District that featured chef and television personality Mika Leon preparing tostadas featuring Upside cultivated chicken.

“Having had the opportunity to work with Upside’s cultivated chicken, I can attest that their products are delicious,” Leon said Monday in a press release issued the company. “From appearance to aroma and taste, their products provide the same experience you’d expect from chicken. As a chef, I love the idea of preserving the foods we love while using innovation to figure out ways to create a better future of food.”

Chef Mika Leon and Upside Foods founder Uma Valeti in Miami on June 27, 2024 (Photo by Upside Foods)

“We believe that cultivated meat is essential for the future of food, and people should have the right to choose what they eat,” added Dr. Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of Upside Foods.

“The purpose of this event was to give Floridians a taste of cultivated meat — something the state is unfortunately preventing them from enjoying and benefiting from, both in terms of innovation and economics. Despite Florida’s ban, events like this highlight the increasing interest in cultivated meat and its crucial role in shaping a more sustainable future of food.”

The other company able to sell cultivated meat in the U.S., GOOD Meat, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company did issue a blistering statement in May, shortly after DeSantis signed the bill into law.

Dictating to consumers

“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,” the company said. “This bill sends a terrible message to the investors, scientists, and entrepreneurs that have built America’s global leadership in alternative proteins.”

GOOD Meat went on to assail Florida lawmakers for presenting “no credible safety concerns,” saying the law was designed explicitly to help “Big Ag” “avoid accountability and competition.”

When he signed the legislation in May, DeSantis called the development of cultivated meat over the past decade an effort with an “ideological agenda that wants to finger agriculture as the problem.”

“The bill that I’m going to sign today is going to say, basically, take your fake, lab-grown meat elsewhere. We’re not doing that in the state of Florida,” he said.

The law says that a person who knowingly violates the ban on selling, holding, offering for sale, or distributing cultivated meat commits a misdemeanor of the second degree. Florida law says that such misdemeanors are punishable by a jail term of 60 days and a fine of up to $500.

Italy became the first country in the world to ban the production, sale or import of cultivated meat last November.

Florida, Florida Phoenix, Florida Legislature, Italy, Cultivated Meat, What is the danger of cultivated meat?


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  • MamaMia

    Oh yeah, and giving water, and allowing an outdoor worker suffering from the extreme heat to take a shade break, could get you arrested, or rendering first aid, and he does not want anyone standing in line wrapped around a building to go vote, to receive a bottle of drinking water, as that could get you arrested for giving a voter a bottle of drinking water. Go figure.......

    Sunday, July 7 Report this