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Florida Becomes First State to Ban ‘Fake Meat

Florida’s governor has signed a first-of-its-kind bill into law to officially ban lab-grown meat, in a bid to protect the Sunshine State’s cattle industry and its residents. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the legislation, SB1084, into law at a ceremony May 1. The sweeping 81-page agricultural package officially bans “the manufacture for sale, sale, holding or offering for sale, or distribution of cultivated meat” in Florida. The ban does not include Impossible meat, which is a plantbased meat alternative. Gov. DeSantis’ office said in a statement that Florida is “taking action to stop the World Economic Forum’s goal of forcing the world to eat lab-grown meat and insects.” The World Economic Forum (WEF) describes insects as “an overlooked source of protein.” Gov. DeSantis described the legislation as the state’s effort to push back against the plan by global elites to force the world to consume “meat grown in a petri dish or bugs to achieve their authoritarian goals.” “Take your fake lab-grown meat elsewhere,” he said at the press conference. “We’re not doing that in the state of Florida.” “We must protect our incredible farmers and the integrity of American agriculture,” he said. “Lab-grown meat is a disgraceful attempt to undermine our proud traditions and prosperity and is in direct opposition to authentic agriculture. Lab-grown meat is created in a laboratory by taking stem cells from an animal and placing them in tanks called bioreactors full of a culture medium that enables them to multiply. The American Cancer Society has admitted that bioengineered foods can trigger reactions in people with allergies. The law takes effect on July 1. “What we’re doing here is a vote for traditional agriculture,” Sen. Jay Collins explained. On June 21, 2023, the USDA granted its first-ever approval to produce cell-cultured meat to two companies in the United States, Good Meat and Upside Foods. Rep. Alvarez is convinced that the push for fake meat has nothing to do with mitigating climate change. “This is absolutely profit driven because they have a new product on the market that they’re cornering. Good for them,” he said. “But to believe that climate change or animal safety are the drivers behind this you would have to be absurdly uninformed.” A University of California, UC Davis study from a year ago confirmed that the process used to create lab-grown meat is “resource intensive.” Corresponding author Edward Spang said the findings suggest that producing cultured meat is more harmful to the environment than conventional cattle farming. Florida Agricultural Commissioner Wilton Simpson said that knowing the law will take effect very soon is “very encouraging for our farmers.” Simpson explained, the main goal is not only to protect Florida’s farmers, but to maintain the state’s supply chain to make sure that Florida can provide “the most safe, abundant, and affordable food anywhere in the world.” He, too, believes the push for synthetic meat is about profit, not about protecting the environment, explaining that the more someone researches the push for lab-grown meat the more they realize the supporters behind the effort are “very wealthy businesspeople trying to corner the market on a product and sell it through an ideology.” Simpson also suggested that the pressure put on Florida’s farmers by national politics and environmental, social, and governance policies is almost overwhelming. “There is a delicate balance and a tipping point where your state agriculture can no longer survive the regulations put out by the federal government,” he said. Almost half of the land set aside for agriculture in Florida is used to raise cattle, according to the Range Cattle Research & Education Center at the University of Florida (UF). The most recent update on the Florida Cattle Market from UF shows that Florida ranks ninth for beef cattle production in the United States, with around 862,000 heads of cattle. The report also noted that nine of the states on the Top 10 list saw a decline in cattle production. Nationally, the United States has the lowest beef cow herd in over 60 years. Simpson said he isn’t surprised that Florida’s cattle herd has shrunk. What does surprise him is that there are people who believe eating a piece of synthetic meat grown from a biomass and served from a 3-D printer is safer than eating traditionally farmed meat.

Alabama is Second

Alabama has become the second state in the nation to ban the sale of cultured meat. May 12, Governor Kay Ivey signed SB23 into law, making the manufacture, sale or distribution of food products produced from cultured animal cells a Class C misdemeanor as of Oct. 1. According to the bill's fiscal note, civil penalties could range from $100 for a Class II violation up to $10,000 for a Class V violation for food sales establishments that violate the provisions of the bill. However, the legislation does not prevent any federal institution of higher education, or a person that is partnered with a governmental entity or institution of higher education, from conducting research in Alabama regarding the production of cultivated food products

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