Florida governor Ron DeSantis has signed legislation which bans the sale of lab-grown meat in the US state.

In a statement following the announcement of the ban made yesterday (1 May), DeSantis said the state was “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”.

He added that his administration would continue supporting its “local farmers and ranchers” in a bid to “save our beef.”

Responding to the ban and the governor’s statement, Josh Tetrick, CEO of cell-based meat group Good Meat, said in a post on X: “I’m from Alabama, mom is a hairdresser, grew up poor. This is a loss for your state”.

Echoing DeSantis’s sentiments, Florida commissioner of agriculture, Wilton Simpson described the ban as “a tremendous step in the right direction.”

He added: “Lab-grown meat is a disgraceful attempt to undermine our proud traditions and prosperity, and is in direct opposition to authentic agriculture.

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“I applaud Governor DeSantis, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, House Speaker Paul Renner, Senator Jay Collins, and Representative Danny Alvarez for standing up for Florida’s farmers and consumers. Together, we will keep Florida’s agricultural industry strong and thriving.”

The Florida government has also injected a $6m sum to Hardee County via a Job Growth Grant Fund to go towards building a 40,000 square foot warehouse to develop jobs and infrastructure in the local agricultural and meat industry.

Florida is not the first state looking to prohibit the sale of lab-grown meat in the US. In January, Alabama state senators introduced a similar bill which has gone to the US Senate for approval. Last year the state of Texas also passed a law that would require cultivated meat products to include front-of-pack messaging that indicates they are “cell-cultured” or “lab-grown”.

The US Food and Drug Administration gave the green light for cultivated meat producers Good Meat and Upside Foods to sell their lab-grown chicken in the country last June.

Good Meat has also been selling its products in Singapore since November 2020, when it became the first business in the world to be granted approval to sell lab-grown meat.

Since then however, manufacturers have faced challenges in scaling up production. In February, Upside Foods announced it had paused plans to build a new full-scale commercial plant in Glenview, Illinois. That same month it also indicated ending its contract with the Bar Crenn restaurant in San Francisco, California, as it looked to serve its products “on the road through events”

Speaking with Just Food last December, Tetrick said it would “take time” to tackle “the many challenges and uncertainties” of accelerating lab-grown meat production, given the high price of growth mediums and the small volumes currently being produced.

When asked whether he could see larger food companies buying cultivated meat businesses, Tetrick said: “I think some big food companies will acquire cultivated-meat companies but some will see it as too risky. I hope Big Food does get involved. The process will accelerate if they get do.”