Will banning cultivated meat leave a bad taste in biotech investors’ mouths?

cultivated meat
Committees are expected to consider the ban in the House and Senate on Thursday.

Biotech investors from across America sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis and legislative leaders opposing a cultivated meat ban.

A total of 30 venture fund leaders sounded alarms on agriculture legislation advancing through the House (HB 1071) and Senate (SB 1084).

“Passage of this legislation will have economic ramifications for Florida,” the letter states.

“Biotechnology and biomanufacturing are among the fastest-growing industries in the United States, with biomanufacturing leveraging biological systems to produce goods at a commercial scale, offering innovative solutions across various sectors including plastics, fuels, foods, and pharmaceuticals. In the short life of this emerging industry, investors have already put almost $3 billion in capital to work on this product, supporting thousands of jobs in this promising industry.”

The message was signed by many investors in sustainable food science. That includes Nate Crosser from Blue Horizon, Sean O’Sullivan from SOSV and Mark Langley from Univos Asset Management.

The venture funds have all sought ways to address anticipated food shortages and methods to more efficiently produce food. While interests like the Florida Cattlemen’s Association have lobbied for a complete ban on cellular agriculture, investors have maintained the growing field doesn’t pose a threat to traditional agriculture and that all resources will be needed to feed consumers in the immediate future.

The letter notes research happening in Florida regarding lab-grown meat, work that could be stopped if Florida outlaws the sale, manufacturing or distribution of the product.

The University of Florida (UF), University of Miami (UM) and Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota all have programs running right now.

Drs. Razieh Farzad and Sherry Larkin at the UF Florida Sea Grant program are studying the growing field of cellular agriculture and exploring more effective ways to produce meat, dairy or seafood from cell cultures in a controlled environment.

Drs. Kevan Main and Cathy Walsh have started work at Mote on identifying species, methodology and cell lines for optimally cultivating seafood. The goal is to create cell lines replicating redfish and whiteleg shrimp in a laboratory setting.

And the Good Food Institute is working with UM researchers on whether plant-based meat can serve as a source of alternative protein.

“Globally, the demand for protein is rapidly outpacing conventional supply capabilities, exacerbated by limited land and water resources,” the letter from investors reads.

“Florida has the potential to compete for lucrative export markets in this context, but a ban on cultivated meat technology would diminish that opportunity. Furthermore, such a ban could deter export-focused firms from considering Florida, creating broader uncertainty about future restrictions.”

Notably, Rep. Daniel Alvarez, a Tampa Republican carrying the cultured meat ban in the House, amended his bill in its last committee stop so that it allows for the cultivation of meat only for scientific research.

“That way our researchers can continue to perform their safety studies and protocols so that we can continue to advance the research in cultivated protein,” Alvarez said.

That came amid concerns the bill might shut down research programs run by NASA at Cape Canaveral on producing meat that could be used during space travel.

But by prohibiting the sale or manufacture of meat for commercial use, critics still see a threat to the biotech industry.

“Enacting this provision would isolate Florida from the myriad of benefits this burgeoning industry offers both the public and private sectors,” the letter from investors reads. “Additionally, it would send a signal to investors that Florida is an unreliable market due to the wholesale ban of a leading biotechnology area.”

The House Infrastructure Strategies Committee plans to consider the cultured meat ban Thursday at 8 a.m. The Senate Fiscal Policy Committee will take up its Senate companion a few hours later at noon.

Investors Opposing Cultivated Meat Ban – Google Docs by Jacob Ogles on Scribd

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • PeterH

    February 21, 2024 at 4:21 pm

    At one point in time Republicans were the champions of capitalism and business! Those days are gone …. Republicans are now interested in advancing big government overreach and oversight!

    Republicans are America’s biggest threat to democracy and capitalism!

    Vote all Republicans out of office!

  • My Take

    February 21, 2024 at 4:42 pm

    Clone a chimira of chicken meat and pig bacon tissue.

  • Dont Say FLA

    February 22, 2024 at 9:11 am

    They already renamed it from “cultured” to “cultivated” so G0P types wouldn’t think it’s scary gay art and try to ban it, so why the continued griping from legacy politicians on behalf of their legacy farmer lobby donors? $$$$$$$$$

Comments are closed.


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