Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has expressed interest in a bill that would ban the sale and manufacture of fake lab-grown meat.
“I know him [Florida] The Legislature is making a bill to try to protect our meat,” he said during an appearance earlier this month at South Florida State College. “You need meat, OK. And we'll have meat in Florida. … We will not have fake meat. As if that didn't work.”
DeSantis says Floridians won't eat lab meat:
“You need meat. OK? We get meat in Florida. We're going to have fake meat? That's not working. We're going to make sure we get it right.”pic.twitter.com/7HZ7YnhRZF
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePress) February 2, 2024
“Proponents of a ban have said the issue is about protecting Florida's cattle industry. Additionally, House bill sponsor Danny Alvarez, R-Hillsborough County, said the issue is on food safety,” the Tampa Bay Times reported at the time.
“As of today, the unknowns are so big,” Alvarez said. “There are no long-term studies.”
This has since resurfaced as an issue thanks to China Weekly, a Chinese-language publication, publishing an article claiming that a ban on fake meat would benefit China, which the Times notes has been “investing very much in the technology behind it.” [fake] meat.”
According to the Times, the publication may have a point.
“The issue of farmed meat could put Florida's Republican leaders in an awkward position. As a presidential candidate, Gov. Ron DeSantis sought to make American food production more competitive,” notes the Times .
“But DeSantis appears to be supporting a ban on cultured meat, which he referred to last week as 'fake meat,'” a position that could leave American companies behind global competitors in an area key to food science,” according to the Times. .
It is for this and other reasons that even many pro-DeSantis conservatives have a problem with this plan.
Let the market decide whether lab-grown meat is a good idea. It does not prohibit it.
— Libertarian Party of Tennessee (@LPTN1776) February 2, 2024
Not a lab-grown meat fanatic to me, but a freedom fanatic. Why do their instincts support this? Antithetical to freedom and free markets.
— It's Sowell Goodman!! (@BettrCallSowell) February 3, 2024
I really like DeSantis, but he's wrong here. Global warming claims aside, meat farming leads to a lot of cruelty, pollution and antibiotic resistance. I don't know if the lab will ever work, but it's worth a try.@houmanhemmati
— Kevin Keating (@KevinKeatingUSA) February 4, 2024
I disagree with the governor on this. Nothing needs to be banned. It allows people to have a choice. This “lab grown” meat can easily be very safe AND ultimately cheaper than animal meat. Imagine cheap wagyu beef or lobster. In any case, if people don't want it, they won't buy it.
— Houman David Hemmati, MD, PhD (@houmanhemmati) February 3, 2024
@RonDeSantisI'm sure the factory farm lobby is behind this, but stop.
This should not be banned. Technology must meet moral standards and food must be transparently labeled. Beyond that, let the people decide.
— Hazel Henri (@HazelHenri) February 3, 2024
“Do we really want to cede innovation to our international competitors in the economic field?” Justin Kolbeck, the co-founder and CEO of Wildtype, a company that creates fake salmon, asked the Times.
If the bill is signed by DeSantis, Florida would become the first state to ban fake meat, although lawmakers in Alabama, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Iowa have proposed similar bills.
As previously noted, the bill's sponsor, state Rep. Alvarez, is particularly concerned about safety issues, which is why his bill would classify the sale or manufacture of fake meat as a misdemeanor of the second degree.
“Everyone complains that the government is asleep at the wheel, that we're not being proactive,” he told the Times. “Well, that's being proactive.”
It governs the 12th largest cattle producing state in the country. He is obviously taking care of his people
— AppyJoel (@AppyJoel) February 2, 2024
But maybe there is such a thing as being too proactive? Tom Rossmeissl, the chief marketing officer of Good Meat, one of two companies to complete federal safety assessments, seems to think so. He told the Times there were no security concerns to worry about.
“The United States is the world leader in alternative proteins,” he added. “For Florida to pass a law that bans (cultured meat) without good reason sends a very bad message to investors, innovators and biotech companies.”
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