Meat Institute argues cellular agriculture ban will hurt Florida’s food economy
Image via AP.

Cultivated meat.
The nation's top meat packing association said a ban will hurt, not protect, Florida's meat market.

As Florida’s beef farmers treat lab-grown meat as a threat, the nation’s largest meat packing association sees things otherwise.

The North American Meat Association sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis and legislative leaders saying a ban on cellular agriculture violates the free market principles the state normally touts.

Mark Dopp, CEO and General Council for the Meat Institute, said consumers should have a choice whether to add cultivated meat to their diet.

“The Meat Institute is agnostic regarding whether Floridians will buy cell cultivated meat products. Perhaps they will; perhaps they will not,” Dopp wrote. “But restricting the sale and manufacture of cell cultivated meat products limits consumer choice and denies Floridians access to food options.”

The Senate last week passed a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services package (SB 1084) that includes a complete ban on the sale or distribution of cultured meat. The House expects to take up the companion bill (HB 1071) on the floor this week. And legislation that has a chance to pass this Session must be approved by both chambers by Friday.

The legislation included exemptions to allow scientific research in the growing field. But Sen. Jay Collins, the Tampa Republican running the bill in the Senate, argued that artificial meat shouldn’t be available for public consumption until the distant future. “We need more time than five years,” he argued on the floor.

The Meat Institute letter noted, however, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has already approved cultivated meat and established a regulatory process for its inspection.

“Decisions about what to consume or purchase should be left to the market and consumers, not dictated by legislation that hampers progress and competition,” Dopp wrote.

Indeed, his letter questioned whether the state even has the constitutional authority to override federal authority on the regulation of food.

But aside from whether Florida can ban the manufacture of cultivated meat in Florida labs, Dopp said it’s bad policy to go down that road. And it could put Florida behind other states by banning an industry in its infancy from operating during a period of critical growth.

The letter compared an all-out ban on cultivated meat to animal confinement bans approved by liberal voters in California and Massachusetts. While intended to discourage certain agriculture practices with the raising of pork, cows and chicken, those policies only served to encourage more agriculture activity in other states.

The same could happen with cellular agriculture, driving commercial and research activity into meat cultivation to other states.

“Legislators and others who beat the ‘food safety’ drum in support of HB 1071 and SB 1084 do so at their peril, and the peril of others,” Dopp wrote.

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].


  • Earl Pitts "Sage Political Expert Emeritas" American

    March 4, 2024 at 6:21 am

    Good Morn ‘Ting Florida,
    The makers of this poison fake meat, made from maggotts and feeces, are really whizzed off that nobody in Florida wants to eat their maggot/feeces product.
    I dont know about y’all, but I, Earl Pitts American, would not like stinking up my ‘hood by grilling up a bunch of maggotts and feeces.
    I know everyone agrees with my Sage Wisdom,
    Earl Pitts “EAT FLORIDA BEEF” American

    • Joe

      March 4, 2024 at 12:22 pm

      “poison fake meat, made from maggotts and feeces” = the Florida RepubliQan party platform dictated by its lobbyist paymasters

    • MusicFanYesIAm

      March 7, 2024 at 12:44 pm

      Respectfully, Sir – not everyone agrees with your “Sage Wisdom.” I’ve been moving toward more plant-based foods in my diet for a few years now and health-wise – am better for it. One does not require “real” meat to maintain their health. Rather, it is the freedom of making a personal choice for alternate sources of protein that provide similar nutrition and yes – good flavor, which is the wave of the future – on so many levels. The science and capability are here now, along with studies showing the economic benefit (for people, businesses – through increased plant agriculture, better preservation of land, environment), and like anything else – those of us who choose to partake should have the option. That, my friend – is American.

  • Isabel

    March 4, 2024 at 7:58 am

    Please keep the Frankenfood out of Florida’s food supply. It’s bad enough already with all the GMOs, chemical preservatives, pesticides, colorants, hormones, “natural flavors”, corn syrup, sugar, and everything else that is used to create items sold as food. It’s no wonder people are overweight, undernourished, and sick.

    • Krab Sticks BOGO at Winn Dixie

      March 4, 2024 at 8:23 am

      Oh please; you nut-jobs on the parasite peninsula eat road-kill (and proudly post it), gator meat, deer and anything you find on a floor.

      Clean, lab-made edible protein is your best choice, floridaman.

  • Michael K

    March 4, 2024 at 9:52 am

    I remember the faux outrage when the Impossible Burger dared to debut at Burger King. Much ado about nothing, as all of the burger chains – and grocery stores – now carry plant-based “meat” products.

    As the population density of our planet grows, we need to consider all possible alternatives. This is stupid and short-sighted market interference by Republicans beholden to one industry only.

  • It's Complicated

    March 4, 2024 at 10:29 am

    Ever heard of a “Cultured Epidermal Autograft”? It uses a similar cultured meat tech to grow permanent human skin from the intended recipient’s own skin cells, to be used to to repair burns, disfigurements, and such, with no factors related to transplant rejection. There is also research related to growing human organs for transplant, which is more fraught with ethical dilemmas.

    CURRENTLY the meat industry uses otherwise unmarketable parts and pieces from animals to create a meat slurry, often mixed with other proteins and gelatins as a binding agent, and poured into molds to be later used. Variations of this parts and pieces tech include sausage, hot dogs, sliced meats, canned meats, etc. If you watch that process you may never eat those sorts of products again. This cultured meat being banned is NOT that. It is a culture of the meat they want to grow, which probably would taste similar to the meat used in the original culture (they’ll learn how to fine-tune the flavor given culture grown meat is not ‘grass feed,’ or ‘finished with corn,’ etc.) If they started with maggots or feces, they’d grow maggots and feces, which is ridiculous.

  • Dont Say FLA

    March 4, 2024 at 1:21 pm

    FLgOP is skeered to death of manufactured meat. They can’t have their voters getting themselves a slab manufactured because their voters might end up contented and/or happy with their lives which is entirely contrary to G0P’s strategery of exploiting malcontents with big trucks, big guns, and tiny Ds.

Comments are closed.


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