DeSantis looks to ban ‘fake meat,’ says that ‘doesn’t work’ in Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has reportedly expressed interest in a bill that would ban the sale and manufacturing of fake, lab-grown meat.

“I know the [Florida] Legislature is doing 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’re going to have meat in Florida. … We’re not going to have fake meat. Like that doesn’t work.”


“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,” the Tampa Bay Times reported at the time.

“As of today, the unknowns are so great,” Alvarez reportedly said. “There are no long-term studies.”

This has since reemerged as a topic thanks to China Weekly, a Chinese language publication, running a piece claiming that a ban on fake meat would benefit China, which the Times notes has been “investing heavily in the technology behind [fake] meat.”

According to the Times, the publication may have a point.

“The cultivated meat issue could put Florida’s Republican leaders in an awkward position. As a candidate for president, Gov. Ron DeSantis ran on making American food production more competitive,” the Times notes.

“But DeSantis seems to be supporting the ban on cultivated meat, which he referred to last week as ‘fake meat’ — a position that could cause American companies to fall behind worldwide competitors in a key area of food science,” according to the Times.

It’s for this reason and others that even many otherwise pro-DeSantis conservatives have an issue with this plan.


“Do we really want to cede innovation to our international competitors on the economic front?” Justin Kolbeck, the co-founder and CEO of Wildtype, a company creating fake salmon, asked the Times.

Were the bill to be signed into law by DeSantis, Florida would reportedly become the first state to ban fake meat, though lawmakers in Alabama, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Iowa have proposed similar bills.

As noted earlier, the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Alvarez, is especially considered about safety issues, which is why his bill would classify the sale or manufacture of fake meat as a second-degree misdemeanor.

“Everyone complains that the government is asleep at the wheel, that we’re not being proactive,” he told the Times. “Well, this is us being proactive.”

But is there perhaps such a thing as being too proactive? Tom Rossmeissl, the head of marketing for Good Meat, one of two companies that have reportedly completed federal safety assessments, appears to believe so. He told the Times there are no safety concerns to worry about.

“The United States is the global leader in alternative proteins,” he added. “For Florida to pass a law banning (cultivated meat) for no good reason sends a really bad message to investors, to innovators, to biotechnology companies.”

Vivek Saxena


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