Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Bans Lab-Grown Meat Manufactured by ‘Global Elite’

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: May 07, 2024

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has banned lab-grown meat that he claims is manufactured by the “global elite.” This banning comes as some states begin to look down on the idea of their people eating meat that is grown in a lab.

In the last few years, companies have put more money into the creation of lab-grown meat. If more state governors take the step to ban this meat as DeSantis has, then this could potentially affect these meat start-ups.

DeSantis Bans Lab-Grown Meat Throughout Florida

DeSantis has officially signed a bill that prohibits anyone in Florida from either selling or distributing lab-grown meat.

Ron DeSantis wearing a microphone around his ear.

Source: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

After signing this bill into law, DeSantis clarified that he is working to “save our beef,” recognizing the many ranchers and farmers that raise and sell cattle throughout the state.

DeSantis Targets the Global Elite

However, DeSantis also took the time to target what he calls the “global elite” after announcing this state-wide ban. According to DeSantis, the wealthy want regular people to eat this lab-grown meat — but he won’t let that happen to Florida citizens.

Ron DeSantis wearing a suit talking into a microphone in front of a blue background.

Source: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

DeSantis explained, “Florida is fighting back against the global elite’s plan to force the world to eat meat grown in a petri dish or bugs.”

What Is Lab-Grown Meat?

Lab-grown meat is often also called either “cultivated meat” or “cultured meat.” This meat is not made after the slaughtering of animals, such as cattle.

A close-up of white beakers and glasses, with a vial and water in one, in a clean white lab.

Source: Hans Reniers/Unsplash

Instead, lab-grown meat is made from animal stem cells. In the last 10 years alone, many companies have made huge gains in the creation of cultured meat. In 2023, there were about 60 startups around the world dedicated to making cultivated meat for consumption.

How People Feel About Cultured Meat

People have differing opinions on lab-grown meat. As this is still a relatively new idea, many don’t like the idea of eating something that was completely grown in a lab.

A close-up of a scientific microscope.

Source: Logan Moreno Gutierrez/Unsplash

Other critics of lab-grown meat have pointed out that nobody knows exactly how this process may impact both the environment and the economy. Many also believe it will be more costly to produce this type of meat, especially when compared to natural meat.

Lab-Grown vs Natural Beef

Many critics of lab-grown meat — and these critics range from liberal to conservative — have worried that it could harm the businesses of many ranchers around the United States.

Many cows on green grass in the daytime in Florida

Source: Max Harlynking/Unsplash

In the signing of the SB 1084 bill, DeSantis also referenced how he didn’t want Florida’s cattle industry to suffer.


Helping Florida’s Cattle Industry

According to DeSantis, he signed this bill to stop the global elite’s plans — but also to help the regular ranchers who own cattle throughout the state.

Brown cattle seen in Florida in a pasture in the daytime.

Source: Adrien/Unsplash

Florida produced about 862,000 cattle for beef production alone in 2024, making them ninth in the U.S. In total, the sales of cattle breeding stocks and beef sales bring in $900 million in Florida every year.


Does Lab-Grown Meat Help With Climate Change?

Many environmental activists have long been trying to find a way to limit the negative effect cattle and beef farms have on the environment. Some have pointed to lab-grown meat as a solution, though there remain no studies that prove cultured meat will actually have a positive impact on the environment.

Many black and white cows outside on green grass.

Source: Monika Kubala/Unsplash

DeSantis also called out these climate change activists, as he believes that the creation of “fake meat” will not help their goal at all.


Conspiracies About Lab-Grown Meat

Since the idea of lab-grown meat became popular, many conspiracies have been created about what cultured meat is. For example, one common theory is that this meat is made from human cells. It is not, as it’s made from animal cells.

A scientist in a white lab coat and wearing blue gloves puts colored liquid into a tube.

Source: Julia Koblitz/Unsplash

Another conspiracy theory is that this meat will be sold without being labeled as being made in a lab. However, the Department of Agriculture has required all lab-grown meat to be properly labeled as “cell-cultivated.” Critics of DeSantis worry that his “global elite” comments will simply fuel more conspiracy theories.


The Safety of Fake Meat

Studies on the consumption of lab-grown meat are still ongoing. Though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was safe to eat cultured meat in 2022, many questions about this type of meat remain.

A close-up of two red steaks.

Source: Jason Leung/Unsplash

Many regular Americans don’t particularly love the idea of eating something that was grown in a lab. However, some do applaud the fact that no animals are slaughtered in the creation of this meat.


Vegans and Lab-Grown Meat

Many vegetarians and vegans have grown interested in cultured meat, as no animals are killed in its production. However, scientists can take animal cells from slaughtered animals in order to make this meat.

Three small cows walking on green grass in Florida.

Source: Adrien/Unsplash

As a result, it’s always recommended that vegans do their proper research before eating lab-grown meat.


Will Other States Ban Cultured Meat?

Florida is now the first state in the U.S. to ban lab-grown meat. However, there are already moves within other states that could result in cultured meat being banned elsewhere.

A close-up of raw cut-up meat in a bowl.

Source: Usman Yousaf/Unsplash

So far, Alabama, Arizona, and Tennessee have similar bills working their way through their government. These bills, if passed, would also ban the selling and distribution of lab-grown meat.