Politics & Law

Florida Becomes First State to Ban Cultivated Meat as Governor Says “Take Your Fake Lab-Grown Meat Elsewhere”

Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, has signed a law prohibiting the sale and production of lab-grown meat within the state, making Florida the first US state to enact such a ban. The legislation, known as Senate Bill 1084, was enacted during a press event held at the Hardee County Cattleman’s Arena in Wauchula on May 1 and will be enforceable as a second-degree misdemeanor starting July 1.

“Take your fake lab-grown meat elsewhere. We’re not doing that in the state of Florida”

DeSantis showed his support for traditional agriculture during the signing. “We’re fighting back against an ideology that ultimately wants to eliminate meat production in the US and around the globe. In the State of Florida, we’ve put down the marker very clearly: we stand with agriculture,” DeSantis remarked. He continued, “Take your fake lab-grown meat elsewhere. We’re not doing that in the state of Florida.”

Florida House Representative Tyler Sirois initiated the ban in November last year aiming to protect local farmers from the competition posed by emerging food technologies. After progressing through the legislative process, the bill was approved by the Florida Senate in March with an 86-27 vote before moving to receive the governor’s final endorsement.

ron desantis florida bans cultivated meat
© Ron DeSantis on Twitter

Lab-grown vs. “authentic” agriculture

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Wilton Simpson supported the legislation at the press conference, describing lab-grown meat as “a disgraceful attempt to undermine our proud traditions and prosperity, and is in direct opposition to authentic agriculture.”

Notably, an earlier proposal to also ban research involving cultivated meat was omitted from the final version of the bill to avoid potential impacts on the space industry, which explores the production of such meats for long-duration space missions.

Representative Dean Black, who supported the bill, commented on the topic, saying, “I think it is fine to develop moon meat. If you go to the moon and if you go to Mars, you should be allowed to get it there, but you sure as heck shouldn’t be able to get it anywhere in this country and sure as heck not here in Florida,” as reported by NBC 6 South Florida.

Cultivated Chicken FDA
© GOOD Meat

Stifling innovation and consumer choice

Critics of the bill argue that it stifles innovation and limits consumer choices in a field that is gaining significant global investment, especially from the US, which currently has 43 companies involved in developing cultivated meats. These companies are said to attract over 60% of global investments in this sector, according to a report from GovGrant.

Proponents of cultivated meat highlight its benefits in addressing environmental, health, and animal welfare issues. During the legislative debate earlier this year, Rene Vinas from UPSIDE Foods defended the safety of cultivated meat, stating, “Cultivated meat is safe. Period. We make our chicken with a safe process in a safe environment, and USDA inspectors are onsite during operations at all times, from beginning to end.”

Lou Cooperhouse of BlueNalu also expressed concerns that the law could harm economic growth, “By potentially criminalizing cultivated meat, poultry, and seafood, this bill stifles innovation, limits consumers’ choice and free market principles, and undermines economic growth.”

ron desantis florida bans cultivated meat
© Ron DeSantis on Twitter

Broader legislative actions

In a related move, the bill also transfers the regulatory oversight of electric vehicle charging stations to the state, preventing local governments from establishing their own regulations, aligning with DeSantis’s critique of environmentalist policies.

He stated, “These will be people who will lecture the rest of us about things like global warming, they will say that you can’t drive [an] internal combustion engine vehicle, they’ll say that agriculture is bad, meanwhile, they’re flying to Davos and their private jets.” Moreover, the governor signed Florida’s “Heartbeat Protection Act,” a new, more restrictive, six-week abortion ban, on the same day.

DeSantis announced the approval of Senate Bill 1084 on social media, stating, “Global elites want to control our behavior and push a diet of petri dish meat and bugs on Americans. Florida is saying no. I was proud to sign SB 1084 to keep lab grown meat out of Florida and prioritize our farmers and ranchers over the agenda of elites and the World Economic Forum.”

Don't miss out!

The Cultivated X newsletter:
information for decision-makers

Regularly receive the most important news from the cultivated business world.

Invalid email address