Friday, February 09, 2024

ANNALS OF DeSANTIStAN: Cultivated meat businesses push back against FL proposal to ban their product. (Mitch Perry, Florida Phoenix)

Federal agencies with jurisdiction (USDA and FDA) have already ruled, so overbearing Flori-DUH Republicans want to criminalize meat substitutes? "On what theory?"*  Our bumptious Flori-DUH Boy Governor is a louche loser, who now sounds like he's out of his cotton-picking mind.  What a lugubrious goober. "Archie Bunker" with a Harvard law degree, fueled by his big ego?  No class.  No respect for federal regulators, no respect for consumer rights, and using criminal law as a very big club for our Boy Governor to proclaim his supremacy.  So much for Dull Republicans saying they support liberty and free markets. Enough flummery, dupery and nincompoopery from RONALD DION De$ANTI$? 

* Attending a Washington, D.C. football game, the late Secretary Henry Kissinger once responded to a referee call with which he disagreed, on his feet, yelling, "On vot theory?"

Cultivated meat businesses push back against FL proposal to ban their product

BY:  - FEBRUARY 8, 2024 5:41 PM

 Close up view of a scientist’s hand holding a cultivated meat sample with tweezers. Credit: Getty Images

Two California companies can now offer lab-grown meat in restaurants and eventually supermarkets following approval of their products by the U.S. Department of Agriculture last June. But those same products would be banned in Florida if lawmakers approve a proposal moving through the Legislature.

The bill by Tampa Bay-area Republican Jay Collins (SB 1084) would make it unlawful for anyone to manufacture, sell, hold or offer for sale, or distribute “cultivated” meat in Florida. A violator could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.

Additionally, the bill would subject any restaurant, store, or other business to having their license suspended for offering the product.

Collins says his motivation is to protect Florida consumers.

“There are many concerns right here and, until we have those studies and there’s proof positive that this process is going to work, we want to ban this in the state of Florida because it’s just not there quite yet,” Collins told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government on Thursday.

Cultivated meat is genuine animal meat (including seafood and organ meats) that is produced by growing animal cells directly. This eliminates the need to raise animals for food. According to the Good Food Institute, cultivated meat is made of the same cell types that can be arranged in the same or similar structure as animal tissues, thus replicating the sensory and nutritional profiles of conventional meat.

Among the biggest supporters of the Collins proposal in the Legislature is Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“You need meat, okay?” he said at an appearance in Bowling Green last week. “We’re going to have meat in Florida. We’re not going to do that fake meat. Like, that doesn’t work.”

While several states have passed laws regarding labeling of cultivated meat, no state has gone as far as the GOP-controlled Legislature is contemplating in banning it outright, although lawmakers in Arizona are advancing a similar proposal.

Big Farm

The agriculture establishment in Florida is strongly behind the bill, including the Florida Farm Bureau, the Florida Poultry Federation, the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, and the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association. Sen. Collins acknowledged working closely with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in crafting the legislation.

But entrepreneurs in the cultivated meat industry came to testify to the committee that some of what Collins was saying wasn’t accurate.

“I want to correct Sen. Collins here that both the FDA and the USDA have already approved this product with no questions,” said Dr. René Viñas, a board-certified toxicologist with Upside Foods, which markets these products. “Please let consumers decide what to eat and do not criminalize cultivated meat.”

“If the concern as we’ve heard is about consumer safety, this is something that the FDA and USDA will be looking at and is looking at today very closely,” said Mark Shelley, chief legal officer with Believer Meats, an Israeli company building a full-scale lab-grown meat production facility in North Carolina.

“We will be regulated by the USDA. They will regulate us because they view us as real chicken meat. We will be held to the same standards as conventional chicken. If the concern is about labeling and informing consumers, likewise we will be held to a standard of USDA and have the labels to inform consumers about what they are buying and consuming,” Shelley continued.

“By potentially criminalizing cultivated meat, poultry, and seafood, this bill stifles innovation, limits consumer choice and free market principles, and undermines economic growth,” added Lou Cooperhouse, president & CEO with BlueNalu, which produces cultivated seafood in San Diego.

“In the meantime, China has prioritized cultivated meat with its unwavering investment and policy support and made this industry a key part of its blueprint for global protein domination,” he added.

Stifle innovation

Broward County Democratic Sen. Tina Polsky questioned why the Legislature would want to stifle innovation.

“I feel like this is a political bogeyman,” she said. “There is never going to be a shortage of people who want poultry and cattle and fish, but why would we ever stop innovation and technology and new enterprise?”

The measure passed on a party-line vote, with all three Democrats on the committee opposing it.

The House equivalent (HB 1071) sponsored by Hillsborough County Republican Danny Alvarez has made its way through one committee.

Supporters of cultivated meat say it’s better for the environment. Regular meat is a top contributor to the average U.S. household’s carbon footprint, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

However, a non-peer reviewed UC-Davis study from 2023 found that cultivated meat’s environmental impact is likely to be “orders of magnitude” higher than retail beef based on existing and near-term production methods.

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Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.



Bob said...

Republicans are fascists. Out to punish anyone that they possibly can. When directed at the lower classes they reframe this as "justice" and "law and order." When aimed at their competitors they call it something else.

James said...

That and inegalitarian Republicans with upside down taxes in Florida, keeping economic mobility at a minimum for those who don't have lots of money already. Can't blame Joe for higher food prices when Publix brings in $3 billion a year and only pays out $205 million in wages. Profit is 14X wages. Publix is a Florida company so can't blame Joe for that unless you consider him not taxing the shit out of Publix to be the culprit. Also, high rent and housing costs which Republicans prefer. The less economic mobility for the majority of the population they figure is good for someone who has a lot of money.