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DeSantis takes aim at ‘fake meat’ products in Florida

“We’re not going to have fake meat. Like that doesn’t work.”
 
Cultivated chicken is processed at the Believer Meats facility in Rehovot, Israel on Feb. 13, 2023. The company is one of over 150 startups aiming to use cell biology to reduce the environmental impact of the world’s ever-increasing demand for meat and change global protein production.
Cultivated chicken is processed at the Believer Meats facility in Rehovot, Israel on Feb. 13, 2023. The company is one of over 150 startups aiming to use cell biology to reduce the environmental impact of the world’s ever-increasing demand for meat and change global protein production. [ EMMA H. TOBIN | AP ]
Published Feb. 3

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday backed legislative efforts to prevent lab-grown or “cultivated” meat from being made or sold in Florida.

“I know the Legislature is doing a bill to try to protect our meat,” DeSantis said during an appearance at the South Florida State College Hardee Campus in Bowling Green. “You need meat, OK. And we’re going to have meat in Florida. … We’re not going to have fake meat. Like that doesn’t work.”

The proposed ban is included in bills (HB 1071 and SB 1084) that also would make other changes involving the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Cultivated meat involves a process of taking a small number of cultured cells from animals and growing them in controlled settings to make food. Industry officials have argued the cultivated meat process has been closely scrutinized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to ensure safety.

Proponents of a ban have said the issue is about protecting Florida’s cattle industry. Also, House bill sponsor Danny Alvarez, R-Hillsborough County, has contended the issue is about food safety.

“As of today, the unknowns are so great,” Alvarez said last week during a meeting of the House Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee. “There are no long-term studies.”