Alabama follows DeSantis’ lead in banning lab-grown meat

May 13, 2024
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Gov. DeSantis signs law that bans manufacturing, sales of lab grown meat


Gov. DeSantis signs law that bans manufacturing, sales of lab grown meat

00:38

Alabama has became the second U.S. state to say no to cultivated meat, an alternative protein made from animal cells. 

The Alabama bill, proposed by Sen. Jack Williams, vice chair of the Senate Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee, and signed into of law on May 7 by Gov. Kay Ivy, prohibits “the manufacture, sale, or distribution of food products made from cultured animal cells.” 

The new law comes a week after Gov. Ron DeSantis made Florida the first state to ban the sale of so-called lab-grown meat. “We stand with agriculture, we stand with the cattle ranchers, we stand with our farmers, because we understand it’s important for the backbone of the state,” DeSantis said in a May 1 press conference, the start of National Beef Month. 

“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,” the DeSantis added.

Sales of beef cattle and breeding stock generate over $900 million per year in the state, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. 


Bay Area firm eyes methane-munching microbes to capture greenhouse gas

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Beef production is a focal point of climate change discussions as it is a major contributor to global methane emissions. “A single cow produces between 154 to 264 pounds of methane gas per year,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Multiply that by the 1.5 billion beef cattle raised worldwide, and you get a total of at least 231 billion pounds of methane expelled yearly into the atmosphere.  

By contrast, cell-based protein doesn’t require the land, water and crops needed to raise livestock, a boon for the environment as global demand for meat rises, experts note. Global funding for cultivated meat and seafood companies, of which there are more than 100, reached $225.9 million in in 2023 and a total more that $3 billion since 2013, according to the Good Food Institute. 

“Legislation that bans cultivated meat is a reckless move that ignores food safety experts and science, stifles consumer choice, and hinders American innovation,” Sean Edgett, chief legal officer of Upside Foods, said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch. “Major meat companies have invested in cultivated meat to enhance supply chain resilience and meet rising global demand for meat. We should be embracing innovation for a better food future.”

Upside, one of only two cultivated meat firms to receive clearance by the USDA to sell their chicken products in the U.S., has received investments from food giants Cargill and Tyson Foods as well as billionaires Richard Branson and Bill Gates.

In response to the Alabama and Florida bans, Upside started a change.org petition urging consumers to tell politicians “to stop policing” their dinner plates.

—With reporting from the Associated Press.

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