Florida Becomes First State To Ban ‘Fake Meat’

Authored by Patricia Tolson via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Florida’s governor has signed a first-of-its-kind bill into law to officially ban lab-grown meat, in a bid to protect the Sunshine State’s cattle industry and its residents.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the legislation, SB1084, into law at a ceremony in Wauchula on May 1. The sweeping 81-page agricultural package officially bans “the manufacture for sale, sale, holding or offering for sale, or distribution of cultivated meat” in the Sunshine State.

The bill includes 22 additional measures, ranging from the preemption of federal regulations for electric vehicle stations in the state to a redefinition of the term. “hemp extract.” The ban does not include Impossible meat, which is a plant-based meat alternative.

Gov. DeSantis’ office said in a statement that Florida is “taking action to stop the World Economic Forum’s goal of forcing the world to eat lab-grown meat and insects.”

The World Economic Forum (WEF) describes insects as “an overlooked source of protein.”

Gov. DeSantis described the legislation as the state’s effort to push back against the plan by global elites to force the world to consume “meat grown in a petri dish or bugs to achieve their authoritarian goals.”

Take your fake lab-grown meat elsewhere,” he said at the press conference in Wauchula. “We’re not doing that in the state of Florida.”

Gov. DeSantis also addressed the WEF’s hypocrisy of flying around the world on private jets advocating for the consumption of fake meat and insects as a means to fight climate change.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson described Florida’s leadership in banning lab-grown meat“ as a ”step in the right direction.”

“We must protect our incredible farmers and the integrity of American agriculture,” he said. “Lab-grown meat is a disgraceful attempt to undermine our proud traditions and prosperity and is in direct opposition to authentic agriculture.

Lab grown meat is created in a laboratory by taking stem cells from an animal and placing them in tanks called bioreactors full of a culture medium that enables them to multiply.

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The American Cancer Society has admitted that bioengineered foods can trigger reactions in people with allergies.

Dr. Sayed Haider told The Epoch Times in an October 2023 interview that bioengineered food itself could be “toxic,” saying evidence already suggests that it promotes antibiotic resistance, triggers immunosuppression, and even causes cancer.

The law takes effect on July 1.

Sen. Jay Collins (R-Tampa), the sponsor of the bill, told The Epoch Times that “it feels good” to know the bill will soon take effect.

He noted that proponents of lab-grown meat cannot conclusively prove that the product is safe to consume and ignore evidence that its more harmful to the environment than the cows they want to eliminate.

“Ultimately, it’s not cost ineffective. The ethical dilemmas, the food safety dilemmas, and the long-term efficacy and health safety for our people, it’s just not worth it,” he said.

Now that Florida has taken the first step to ban the controversial meat substitute, he believes other states will follow.

“When you shine a light on this, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Democrat of a Republican. Almost everybody has the same thought when you talk about this. ‘That’s creepy. It’s gross. I don’t want to feed my family this. Is this safe?’ That’s a problem,” Rep. Collins suggested.

“What we’re doing here is a vote for traditional agriculture,” he explained. “You have to feed people. This is a natural protein that people have eaten historically. Let’s not create a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.”

‘Absolutely Profit Driven’

Rep. Danny Alvarez (R-Hillsborough County), who sponsored the House version of the bill, said a key part of the legislation is to protect public health.

“This is a really big deal,” he told The Epoch Times.

Anyone who knowingly violates the new law is guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $500 and up to 60 days of imprisonment for each infraction.

Food establishments that manufacture, distribute, or sell lab-grown meat found to be in violation of the law can be shut down and the owners can be fined and suffer jail time.

In addition, restaurants, stores or any other businesses caught selling fake meat will be subject to an “immediate stop-sale order” and could lose their operating license upon conviction.

“This is your state government standing up and saying, ‘If you want to come in and have access to our citizens, you’ve got to prove to us that this completely novel concept doesn’t have any significant or long-term safety issues for our people, and if we’re going to allow you to do that, we’re going to make sure we’re putting our people in front of your profit,” he said.

He described how the pressure he was subjected to by both individuals and highly paid lobbyists in the pro-cultured meat camp “was borderline disgusting.”

Requests to provide evidence that the product is safe for human consumption was met with that it was approved by the federal government.

On June 21, 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) granted its first-ever approval to produce cell-cultured meat to two companies in the United States, Good Meat and Upside Food.

Rep. Alvarez noted that this same federal government approved the COVID-19 vaccines and said smoking, saccharin, and Vioxx were safe.

He is also convinced that the push for fake meat has nothing to do with mitigating climate change.

“This is absolutely profit driven because they have a new product on the market that they’re cornering. Good for them,” he said. “But to believe that climate change or animal safety are the drivers behind this you would have to be absurdly uninformed.”

A University of California, UC Davis study from a year ago confirmed that the process used to create lab-grown meat is “resource intensive.”

Corresponding author Edward Spang said the findings suggest that producing cultured meat is more harmful to the environment that conventional cattle farming.

“It’s not a panacea,” he explained, and while it might be possible to reduce the environmental impact of lab-grown meat production in the future, Mr. Spang said it will ”require significant technical advancement to simultaneously increase the performance and decrease the cost of the cell culture media.”

According to Rep. Alvarez, more research is need.

“It isn’t for prime time,” he said.

‘A Delicate Balance’

In an interview with The Epoch Times, Florida Agricultural Commissioner Wilton Simpson said that knowing the law will take effect very soon is “very encouraging for our farmers.”

As Mr. Simpson explained, the main goal is not only to protect Florida’s farmers, but to maintain the state’s supply chain to make sure that Florida can provide the “the most safe, abundant, and affordable food anywhere in the world.”

“This bill helps us obtain those goals,” he said.

He, too, believes the push for synthetic meat is about profit, not about protecting the environment, explaining that the more someone researches the push for lab-grown meat the more they realize the supporters behind the effort are “very wealthy businesspeople trying to corner the market on a product and sell it through an ideology.”

Bill Gates has been a major investor in Upside Foods since its launch in 2017.

Mr. Simpson also suggested that the pressure put on Florida’s farmers by national politics and Environmental, Social and Governance policies is almost overwhelming.

“There is a delicate balance and a tipping point where your [state agriculture] can no longer survive the regulations put out by the federal government,” he said.

Almost half of the land set aside for agriculture in Florida is used to raise cattle, according to the Range Cattle Research & Education Center at the University of Florida (UF).

The county with the highest herd count is Okeechobee, with 165,000, according to 2022 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The most recent update on the Florida Cattle Market from UF shows that Florida ranks ninth for beef cattle production in the United States, with around 862,000 heads of cattle, a decline of about three percent over 2023. The report also noted that nine of the states on the Top 10 list saw a decline in cattle production. Nationally, the United States has the lowest beef cow herd in over 60 years.

Mr. Simpson said he isn’t surprised that Florida’s cattle herd has shrunk. What does surprise him is that there are people who believe eating a piece of synthetic meat grown from a biomass and served from a 3-D printer is safer than eating traditionally farmed meat.

Decimating Florida’s cattle herd to make way for fake meat would be “a terrible mistake,” which he believes would be regretted later.

Just as it will take many years for Florida’s citrus industry to recover from greening, he said, it would take many years to overcome such a profound deficit in the state’s cattle herd.

“In Florida, we’re not going to allow the disruption of our net supply chain,” Mr. Simpson asserted. “We’re not going to be guinea pigs for the leftist-ideas of net-zero, and yesterday we went a long way to prove that, and everybody knows it.”

Sourced from ZeroHedge

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