House rejects amendments to water down cultivated meat ban

Rep. Alvarez
An amendment that would have imposed labeling requirements instead of a ban was withdrawn.

A ban on the sale of cultivated meat in Florida appears poised for passage.

The House rejected any changes to a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services bill (SB 1084), including the removal of language barring cellular agriculture.

Rep. Danny Alvarez, a Tampa Republican, said the Legislature cannot tolerate businesses selling lab-grown meat, regardless of whether the Food and Drug Administration said it’s safe. He defended the ban against arguments lawmakers were passing protectionist language for traditional ranchers while shutting down an industry in its infancy.

“I’m sensitive to the argument. I completely am,” Alvarez said. “But the truth of the matter is, I am choosing a side, and the side we’re choosing is the citizens of the state of Florida. We will discriminate against anyone who tries to hurt them and harm them. Or not even give us enough information to make informed consent.”

Earlier in the day, Rep. Jim Mooney, an Islamorada Republican, filed one of multiple amendments to the bill that would have stripped language on cultivated meat out. Mooney’s measure would have imposed labeling requirements so anyone selling cultivated meat had to inform consumers of its origins, and he also would have prohibited the importation of the product from countries of concern like China, but would have allowed the sale of domestically produced lab-grown meat.

But Mooney withdrew his amendment immediately before it came up for consideration on the House floor.

Representatives did consider several amendments from Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat. That included a measure dropping all language about cultivated meat from the bill.

She argued the legislation would stifle innovation in an attempt to shut down competition for traditional farmers.

“I don’t think the state of Florida should be picking winners and losers and allow corporate capture to take place,” she said.

Alvarez did adopt language in committee to allow scientific research of cultivating meat by NASA and other institutions in Florida.

He rejected comparisons of cultured meat to fatty foods, including beef, and cigarettes. Unlike those examples, he said the public cannot make informed consent on whether to consume the product because it is too new.

Democrats also pushed against language in the bill that would preempt any local regulations involving electric vehicle charging stations. But any amendments leaving local governments authority on that issue were also shut down on the floor.

The Senate already passed the agriculture bill with some adjustments to the electrical vehicle language, but with the cultivated meat ban still intact. The House has taken up the Senate version of the bill and expects to pass it on Wednesday.

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].


  • SuperMax Florida

    March 5, 2024 at 3:34 pm

    Meanwhile, one of your largest unchecked crimes are rustlers coming at night to slaughter livestock in the ranch and take the meat.

    Hay theft also plagues St Johns County and the hay farms west of 95.

  • Lex

    March 6, 2024 at 8:05 am

    We have a terrible problem in the country caused by the Swamp response to COVID; we can no longer trust the “science” that comes from our government agencies. Politics has crept its way into the “science”. And the big balance to government “science” was an open media and the ability of third-party labs to do independent research. Now government “science” censors and shadow bans any criticism. That tends to be the opposite of actual science. Now we have a “Boy who cried Wolf” issue that even when the WHO, FDA, or other government “science” organization is correct, we won’t listen to them. That is dangerous for everyone. Trust cannot be blindly given. We need to get back to a place where government “science” allows itself to be openly criticized and the merits of the “science” can be weighed transparently.

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