Ag Policy Blog

DeSantis Signs Bill Banning Lab-Grown Meat in Florida

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Florida has joined three other states in banning lab-grown meat from being sold in the state. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the law stops a global-elitist agenda against beef. (DTN file photo)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has signed a bill to prohibit the sale of lab-grown meat in Florida.

DeSantis said Florida is "taking action to stop the World Economic Forum's goal of forcing the world to eat lab-grown meat and insects, 'an overlooked source of protein.' While the World Economic Forum is telling the world to forgo meat consumption, Florida is increasing meat production, and encouraging residents to continue to consume and enjoy 100% real Florida beef."

Alabama, Arizona and Tennessee also have passed similar laws.

"Today, Florida is fighting back against the global elite's plan to force the world to eat meat grown in a petri dish or bugs to achieve their authoritarian goals," DeSantis said in a news release. "Our administration will continue to focus on investing in our local farmers and ranchers, and we will save our beef."

"Florida is taking a tremendous step in the right direction by signing first-in-the-nation legislation banning lab-grown meat. We must protect our incredible farmers and the integrity of American agriculture. Lab-grown meat is a disgraceful attempt to undermine our proud traditions and prosperity, and is in direct opposition to authentic agriculture," added Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson, an elected Republican.

In 2021, the World Economic Forum published an article urging consideration of insects as a source of protein.

USDA: Ground Beef Tests Negative for Avian Influenza

USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced late Wednesday that its tests of retail ground beef for H5N1, the high path avian influenza virus, were negative.

FSIS said the agency, which is responsible for meat and poultry inspection, "collected 30 samples of ground beef from retail outlets in the states with dairy cattle herds that had tested positive for the H5N1 influenza virus at the time of sample collection. The samples were sent to APHIS' National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) for PCR testing. On May 1, NVSL reported that all samples tested negative for H5N1. These results reaffirm that the meat supply is safe."

USDA noted, "The samples were analyzed by APHIS [the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), to indicate whether any viral particles were present. No virus particles were found to be present."

USDA also said FSIS is collecting muscle samples at FSIS-inspected slaughter facilities of cull dairy cattle that have been condemned for systemic pathologies. The samples will be analyzed by APHIS using PCR to determine the presence of viral particles. The results are forthcoming and will be posted as soon as they become available.

USDA noted that the Agriculture Research Service will conduct a beef cooking study using a virus surrogate in ground beef and cooking it at different temperatures to determine log-reduction of the virus. The results will be posted as soon as they become available.

Collins: Vilsack Says Potato Won't be Reclassified as Grain

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a news release that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had called her the day before to say that USDA will officially support keeping potatoes classified as a vegetable, and not a grain.

This decision followed the bipartisan letter she led with Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., opposing any reclassification of potatoes as a grain instead of a vegetable, or including recommendations that potatoes and grains are interchangeable, as amendments to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) are being considered.

"The reclassification of potatoes would have sent a false message to the public that the USDA believes that potatoes are not healthy," said Collins.

"The fact is, when prepared properly, the potato is a wonderfully nutritious food that is affordable, easy to transport, has a long storage life, and can be used in a wide array of recipes.

"I am pleased Secretary Vilsack called me personally to tell me that the USDA has no intention of reclassifying potatoes and recognizes that potatoes are, in fact, a vegetable. I urge the DHHS (Department of Health and Human Services) to follow the USDA's lead and recognize the same reality."

A Vilsack spokesman said in an email, "As we have previously conveyed, the secretary reiterated to the senator that there is no intent and no effort underway to reclassify potatoes as a grain, nor are there analyses singling out potatoes."

Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at

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