Jim Mooney amendment aims to cut cultivated meat ban, impose labeling and import rules instead
Good Meat’s cultivated chicken at the Eat Just office. Image via AP.

Goof Meat
An amendment from the Islamorada Republican would stop imports of cultivated meat from China.

A Republican lawmaker opposed to a lab-grown meat ban has filed a last-minute amendment to a controversial agriculture package.

Rep. Jim Mooney, an Islamorada Republican, wants the House to dump language in a bill (SB 1084) already passed in the Senate that would outlaw the sale of cultivated meat.

But an amendment he filed would require labels on meat products informing consumers on their origins. He also supports a ban on the import of cultivated meat from China or any other “foreign country of concern.”

The ban on cultured meat is one of a few controversial issues that have come up repeatedly at meetings in the House and Senate on the legislation. The bill includes a number of priorities for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).

In a House Infrastructure Strategies Committee last month, Mooney slammed the inclusion of the cultured meat ban in the bill. At the time, he said that would hurt innovation in Florida and put the U.S. at a disadvantage to China.

While the ban boasts the support of many agriculture advocates like the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, Mooney stressed that much of the meat produced in “traditional” fashions around the world uses artificial means and chemicals. He suggested that livestock ultimately can’t keep up with population growth, and that barring commercial sale of cultivated meat would hurt food security.

“We don’t want to eat Chinese food that’s going to be on our plates ultimately down the road and that’s a scary, scary thought,” Mooney said. “Tilapia. You ever seen how it’s raised in Vietnam? So you know how I feel on this.”

Notably, the legislation now exempts scientific research on cultivated meat, allowing ongoing studies at NASA, Mote Marine Laboratory and multiple universities in the state. Rep. Danny Alvarez, a Tampa Republican carrying the bill, said that will allow needed study of the product, but he has maintained that cultivated meat is years away from being ready for public consumption.

Opponents of the meat ban, including The Good Food Institute, support Mooney’s amendment.

It was not immediately clear if the amendment, filed early Wednesday immediately before the deadline, will be greeted as friendly. However, the House showed days ago a willingness to adopt an unfriendly amendment against a bill sponsor’s will, even if it kills legislation.

The underlying bill is expected to be taken up on the House floor. Should the lower chamber amend the bill, that will require it to also go back to the Senate before it can pass.

Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, has also filed several amendments on the bill. Those changes, if all were approved, would get rid of a proposed state preemption of electric vehicle charging station regulations, eliminate the cultivated meat ban, and require a report from FDACS on what federal clean energy funding the agency rejected or failed to pursue.

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].


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