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Ron DeSantis bans lab-grown meat from ‘global elite’

  • By Holly Honderich
  • BBC News, Washington

Image source, fake images

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

“Florida is fighting the global elite’s plan to force the world to eat meat grown in a petri dish or insects,” DeSantis said in a statement.

The first law in the country prohibits anyone from selling or distributing lab-grown meat in Florida.

Similar efforts are underway in Alabama, Arizona and Tennessee.

Lab-grown or “grown” meat was first authorized for consumption in the US in 2022.

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

The World Economic Forum, an international non-governmental organization based 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, alternative protein source.”

Edible insect lobbyists have launched a campaign asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to add mealworms, cricket protein powder and other insect products insects to the agency’s safe ingredients database.

These unconventional food sources have become fodder for America’s culture wars. Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene made headlines two years ago after suggesting that the government was monitoring whether Americans ate fake meat grown in a petri dish.

Image source, fake images

Screenshot, A slice of cultured chicken from Good Meat. Good Meat said it was “disappointed” with the new law

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

“In the state of Florida we have made the marker very clear: we support agriculture. We support ranchers,” he said.

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

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

But the measure was also supported by an unlikely DeSantis supporter, Sen. John Fetterman, a Pennsylvania Democrat. “It pains me deeply” to agree with DeSantis, Fetterman wrote in X, “but I am a signatory to this.”

Good Meat, a cultured meat company that claims to be the first in the world to sell lab-grown meat, wrote in 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 liberty, your government is now telling consumers what meat they can and cannot buy,” he said.