DeSantis signs bill banning lab-grown meat in Florida

On Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill banning the sale or production of lab-grown meat in the state. A press release portrayed the bill as an attempt to advance the freedom of Floridians by protecting them from the World Economic Forum's “goal of forcing the world to eat lab-grown meat and insects.” the legislation merely competition for the state's meat producers.

“Today, Florida is resisting the global elite’s plan to force the world to eat petri dish meat or insects to achieve their authoritarian goals,” DeSantis said Wednesday Press release. “Our administration will continue to focus on investing in our local farmers and ranchers, and we will save our beef.”

Since last year, cultured or “lab-grown” meat has been available in extremely limited quantities in the United States, generally limited to individual restaurants, according to the Food and Drug Administration approved Two different breeds of chickens for sale.

But despite DeSantis' alleged fears of a lab-meat takeover, the small cultured meat industry is struggling. The product is currently not available anywhere in the United States, let alone Florida.

Nevertheless, the governor signed Senate Bill 1084, which he let a sweeping cultured meat ban that makes it illegal for any person to produce, sell, keep, or offer for sale or distribute cultured meat in Florida. Violators of the law face misdemeanor penalties, and companies caught selling the product may have their license revoked.

“We must protect our incredible farmers and the integrity of American agriculture,” Florida Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson said in the news release. “Lab-grown meat is a shameful attempt to undermine our proud traditions and prosperity and is in direct contradiction to authentic farming.”

However, it appears that DeSantis is the real authoritarian in this situation. Instead of letting Floridians decide for themselves whether they want to try lab-grown meat, DeSantis is letting the state intervene, all in the name of protecting Floridians from an imagined threat to their freedom.

Florida's ban on lab-grown meat is a perfect marriage of protectionism and culture war. By portraying the tiny lab meat industry as a left-wing threat, DeSantis can justify giving government kickbacks to the meat industry while protecting meat producers from a source of future competition. Wednesday's press release even goes so far as to boast about a litany of recently passed laws that “support.”[s] the state’s agriculture and meat industries.”

Unfortunately, Florida is not the first state to ban cultured meat. Alabama banned lab-grown meat last month, and a law banning the product is still pending Arizona And Tennessee. Italy banned it last year.

Anna Harden

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