Cultivated Meat: The Debate in Florida and Arizona and Its Impact on the Meat Industry

In a recent appearance at the South Florida State College Hardee Campus in Bowling Green, Governor Ron DeSantis expressed his support for a bill being discussed in the Legislature that aims to protect the meat industry in Florida.[0] DeSantis emphasized the importance of meat and stated that Florida will not have fake meat, as it simply does not work. He reiterated his stance multiple times, asserting that Florida needs meat and will ensure that it is available in the state.

The bill in question, Florida’s House Bill 435, proposes to prohibit the manufacturing, sale, holding, or distribution of cultivated meat, with penalties for violators.[1] The bill was introduced by state representative Tyler Sirois, who believes that cultivated meat goes against nature and creation.[2] The House Regulatory Reform and Economic Development Subcommittee has already passed the bill, citing the unknowns and potential risks associated with cultivated meat. However, there are lawmakers who believe that allowing cultivated meat could have economic benefits.[3]

There has been opposition to the proposed ban on cultivated meat. UPSIDE, a company involved in the production of cultivated meat, strongly opposes the bill, stating that it threatens the free market, stifles innovation, and limits consumer choice. They argue that cultivated meat is regulated by the FDA and USDA and undergoes the same oversight as conventionally-produced meat.[1] They also highlight the potential negative consequences on the economy and innovation in Florida.[1]

Despite the opposition, the bill is making progress in the Florida legislature. It is now included in larger agriculture bills in both the House and Senate.[4] If the bill is passed, Florida will be the first state in the nation to ban cultivated meat.[5] This has raised concerns among proponents of alternative protein sources, who fear that this move could set a dangerous precedent.[6]

Governor DeSantis has been vocal in his support for the ban on cultivated meat. He has endorsed the legislation pending in the Legislature, which would criminalize the manufacturing, sale, and distribution of cultivated meat.[4] DeSantis believes that cultivated meat, defined as meat or food products produced from cultured animal cells, should not be allowed in Florida.

The debate over cultivated meat is not limited to Florida.[7] Similar legislation is being discussed in Arizona, where House Bill 2244 aims to legally define “meat” and regulate its labeling.[2] The bill has faced both support and controversy, but it has successfully cleared the House and is now headed to the Senate.[7] The proposed law specifically focuses on cell-cultured and plant-based meat substitutes, calling for strict labeling requirements to differentiate these products from traditional meat.[2]

As the discussion around cultivated meat continues, the decisions made in Florida and Arizona could have far-reaching implications for the future of the meat industry and alternative protein sources. It remains to be seen whether these bills will become law and how they will shape the landscape of the food industry in the years to come.

0. “DeSantis takes aim at ‘fake meat’ products in Florida” Tampa Bay Times, 3 Feb. 2024,

1. “Lab-grown meat ban bill moving through Florida legislature” Yahoo News, 31 Jan. 2024,

2. “Arizona next state to propose cultivated meat censorship”, 2 Feb. 2024,

3. “Florida House Committee passes a law banning cultivated meat” RFD-TV, 29 Jan. 2024,

4. “In latest attack on ESG, Gov. DeSantis says Floridians ‘need meat'” Florida Politics, 3 Feb. 2024,

5. “New push to ban lab-grown meat in Florida” Toowoomba Chronicle, 31 Jan. 2024,

6. “Livestock industry targets Florida in campaign to block cultivated meat innovation” Genetic Literacy Project, 5 Feb. 2024,

7. “Arizona’s House Bill 2244: A Battle Over ‘Meat’ Labeling” BNN Breaking, 4 Feb. 2024,

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