Jeff Bezos takes $60M lab-grown meat investment to Florida — then Ron DeSantis banned it!

New legislation signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis seemed to send a clear message to billionaire Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

The Republican governor and former presidential candidate signed into law a bill banning the sale of lab-grown meat in the Sunshine State. The move came just a few short weeks after Bezos and his fiancée Lauren Sanchez, who just recently made Florida their permanent home, announced “a $60 million initial investment into sustainable protein including plant-based, fermented, and cultivated meats,” according to Fortune.

“We need to feed 10 billion people with healthy, sustainable food throughout this century while protecting our planet. We can do it, and it will require a ton of innovation,” Sanchez, who is vice chair of Bezos Earth Fund, said in a statement in March.

The $60 million was part of a $1 billion commitment by the couple to expand food production.

“Lab-grown or cultivated meat is different from an Impossible burger and others of its ilk. It’s made by taking meat from animals and replicating the cell structures scientifically, eradicating the need to farm animals,” Fortune reported. “The nonprofit Good Food Institute reports that the cultivated meat industry has grown to include more than 150 companies backed by $2.6 billion in investments with Bezos among those funding the sector.”

Bezos reportedly bought a $90 million property in South Florida, his third mansion in the state, after announcing last November that he was permanently leaving Seattle for Miami.

In signing SB 1084 last week, DeSantis signaled that the move was aimed at stopping the World Economic Forum’s goal of “forcing the world to eat lab-grown meat and insects.”

“While the World Economic Forum is telling the world to forgo meat consumption, Florida is increasing meat production, and encouraging residents to continue to consume and enjoy 100% real Florida beef,” according to a news release.

“Today, Florida is fighting back against the global elite’s plan to force the world to eat meat grown in a petri dish or bugs to achieve their authoritarian goals,” DeSantis said. “Our administration will continue to focus on investing in our local farmers and ranchers, and we will save our beef.”

“The move is unusual, given that lab-grown meat isn’t available for sale in the U.S.,” Fortune reported, noting that the state ranks 13th in the U.S. in overall cattle numbers.

DeSantis’ move to sign SB 1084 “could be a shot across the bow,” Fortune reported, as Florida “has become a haven for billionaires who often fund and launch food innovations meant to remediate the effects of climate change.”

The Bezos Earth Fund says it is “transforming the fight against climate change with the largest ever philanthropic commitment to climate and nature protection. We’re investing $10 billion in this decisive decade to protect nature and drive systems-level change, creating a just transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Frieda Powers

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