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Florida Prepares to Ban Lab-Grown Meat

Florida lawmakers are advancing a set of bills seeking to prohibit the sale of lab-grown meat due to safety concerns. If passed, Florida will become the first U.S. state to support a total ban on cultivated meat. Lawmakers acknowledged that the ban won’t last “forever.” However, cultured meat will take at least five years to become widely available commercially, which gives lawmakers enough time to revisit the issue when necessary. Critics of the bill point out that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has already approved the consumption of lab-grown meat. In June last year, the USDA gave the green light to two California companies to sell lab-grown chicken products to restaurants and eventually supermarkets. The bill is being supported by members of the traditional agricultural community and is opposed by researchers and investors. The North American Meat Institute, the largest trade association of meatpackers in the United States, opposes the bill, while the Florida Cattlemen’s Association extended support. “Until we have long-term studies that tell me what lab-grown immortalized cells do to your body, I challenge you to put it in your child,” Mr. Alvarez said. Cultivated meat is produced by extracting cells from animals, a fertilized egg, or a bank of stored cells, and placing them into a culture medium. The medium is then placed into big tanks containing a mixture of fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, salt, sugars, and other elements crucial for the cells to grow. Most lab-grown meat uses “immortalized cell lines” in their cultivation. Normally, a population of cells would not divide itself indefinitely. However, mutating some cells by genetic modification or other means allows the indefinite division of cells. Back in 2020, the Center for Food Safety pointed out that a “particular concern” with cultured meat is the “genetic engineering of cells and their potential cancer promoting properties.” “The scale required for making lab-cultured ‘meat’ feasible for mass consumption will be the largest form of tissue engineering to exist and could introduce new kinds of genetically engineered cells into our diets,” it said. Genetically modified cell lines could “exhibit the characteristics of a cancerous cell.” Even though companies engaged in National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP). “With high quality, local beef readily available for our students, there’s no reason to be serving fake, lab-grown meat products in the cafeteria,” Mr. Rounds said. “The lack of nutrition and allergen research related to lab-grown proteins creates unnecessary risks for children,” said Ethan Lane, of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. cultured meat production claim their products are more sterile than traditional animal agriculture, “it’s unknown how that is true without the use of antibiotics or some other pharmaceutical means of pathogenic control,” the organization stated. Last month, Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) introduced the “School Lunch Integrity Act” that aims to ban cultured meat from being provided through the government’s National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP). “With high quality, local beef readily available for our students, there’s no reason to be serving fake, lab-grown meat products in the cafeteria,” Mr. Rounds said. “The lack of nutrition and allergen research related to lab-grown proteins creates unnecessary risks for children,” said Ethan Lane, of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

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