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Ron DeSantis bans lab-grown meat from “global elite.”

  • By Holly Honderich
  • BBC News, Washington

image source, Getty Images

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has banned lab-grown meat, saying he will “save our beef” from the “global elite” and their “authoritarian agendas.”

“Florida is resisting the global elite’s plan to force the world to eat meat from Petri dishes or insects,” DeSantis said in a statement.

The nation's first law bans anyone from selling or distributing lab-grown meat in Florida.

Similar efforts are underway in Alabama, Arizona and Tennessee.

In 2022, lab-grown or “cultured” meat was approved for consumption in the United States for the first time.

Studies have shown that eating cultured meat can reduce carbon emissions, water consumption and free up land for nature compared to eating traditionally produced meat.

The World Economic Forum, an international nongovernmental organization in Switzerland, has for years promoted lab-grown meat as an efficient and environmentally friendly way to produce food and feed a rapidly growing global population. It has also promoted insect farming as a “credible and alternative source of protein.”

Edible insect lobbyists have launched a campaign calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to add mealworms, cricket protein powders and other insect products to the agency's database of safe ingredients.

These unconventional food sources have become breeding ground for the culture wars in the United States. Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene made headlines two years ago when she insinuated that the government was monitoring whether Americans were eating artificial meat from a petri dish.

image source, Getty Images

image description, A piece of farmed chicken from Good Meat. Good Meat said it was “disappointed” by the new law.

At an event on Wednesday to announce the new law, Mr. DeSantis said he was fighting “an ideology that ultimately seeks to eliminate meat production in the United States and around the world.”

“At Florida State we have clearly set an example; we are on the side of agriculture. We are on the side of the ranchers,” he said.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson praised the legislation as a “tremendous step in the right direction.”

“Florida is taking a huge step in the right direction by signing the first law in the country banning lab-grown meat,” Simpson said.

But the move was also backed by an unlikely supporter of Mr. DeSantis, Senator John Fetterman, a Democrat from Pennsylvania. It “deeply pains me” to agree with Mr. DeSantis, Mr. Fetterman wrote on X, “but I co-sign this.”

Good Meat, a cultured meat company that says it is the first company in the world to sell lab-grown meat, wrote on X that it was “disappointed” by Florida's new law.

“In a state that supposedly prides itself on being a land of freedom and individual freedom, its government is now dictating to consumers what meat they can and cannot buy,” it said.

Anna Harden

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