Alabama Joins Trend: Bans Lab-Grown Meat After DeSantis' Move

Alabama Joins Trend: Bans Lab-Grown Meat After DeSantis’ Move

Alabama is becoming the second state in the union to reject cultured meat, a substitute protein derived from animal tissues.

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

A week before to the new legislation, Florida became the first state to outlaw the sale of “lab-grown” meat under Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration.

At a press conference on May 1, the first day of National Beef Month, DeSantis declared, “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.”

“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 continued.

In the state, sales of breeding stock and beef cattle bring in over $900 million annually, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Because it contributes significantly to global methane emissions, the production of beef is a hot topic in discussions about climate change. “A solitary bovine generates approximately 154 to 264 pounds of methane gas annually,” as stated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

That multiplied by the 1.5 billion beef cattle farmed globally yields an annual methane emissions total of at least 231 billion pounds into the atmosphere.

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As the demand for meat grows worldwide, cell-based protein, on the other hand, doesn’t require the land, water, or crops needed to rear cattle, experts observe.

This is good news for the environment. According to the Good Food Institute, global financing for enterprises that cultivate meat and seafood—of which there are over 100—reached $225.9 million in 2023 and more than $3 billion overall since 2013.

“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, stated in a statement. “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.”

Cargill, Tyson Foods, and billionaires Richard Branson and Bill Gates have invested in Upside, one of only two cultured meat companies to be approved by the USDA to market its chicken products in the United States.

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With more than two years of expertise in news and analysis, Eileen Stewart is a seasoned reporter. Eileen is a respected voice in this field, well-known for her sharp reporting and insightful analysis. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects, from politics to culture and more.