“The Revolution That Died on Its Way to Dinner” By Joe Fassler was published on March 2 in the New York Times.  It told of how the cultivated meat industry “was never a real prospect.”

But Florida is still taking it for real. Yesterday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that outlaws the manufacture and distribution of so-called “lab-grown” meat in the state as a threat to Florida agriculture.

“Take your fake lab-grown meat elsewhere,” DeSantis said.  “We are not doing that in the State of Florida.” SB 1084, as signed by DeSantis, is the first of its kind bill banning lab-grown meat in a state.

Lab-grown meat, which was the subject of $3 billion in investment capital between 2016 and 2022, is meat developed from animal stem cells,  While precious little has gone to market, as many as 60 startups are in the industry.

The new Florida law does not include products made with plant-based ingredients.

The Good Food Institute promotes the lab-grown industry. It is not excited about the DeSantis ban.

“We are disappointed that Governor Ron DeSantis has signed into law the criminalization of cultivated meat in Florida. 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 Good Food Institute said in a statement. “This bill sends a terrible message to the investors, scientists, and entrepreneurs that have built America’s global leadership in alternative proteins.”

Carrie Kabat, Head of Global Communications for GOOD Meat, said, “The law will not stop the development of cultivated meat. And GOOD Meat remains committed to its mission: making real meat without needing to tear down a rainforest or take a life.”

 The GOOD Meat statement goes on to make the following points:

 +The legislature presented no credible safety concerns, and its regulatory bodies asked us for no clarifying information. 

+This stands in contrast to the 3+ years we engaged with the USDA and FDA to ensure our product is safe for consumers. 

+That process led to our approval for commercial sale in the United States last summer. 

The Florida legislation has always been about helping one industry, “Big Ag,” avoid accountability and competition.

 Today, these multinational corporations and their lobbyists won. China will also be celebrating, as they are closer to overcoming our nation’s lead in this emerging sector. 

Florida is ninth in beef cattle, with 862,000  head for a total economic impact of more than $900 million annually.

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