Florida House Representative Tyler Sirois (R-51) recently introduced a bill to the legislature that would ban cultivated meat products (also known as “lab-grown meat,” “cell-based meat,” or “cultured meat” products) in the state.
House Bill 435 (HB 435), which defines “cultivated meat” as “any meat or food product produced from cultured animal cells,” aims to prohibit the manufacture, sale, holding or offering for sale, or distribution of cultivated meat in Florida. If passed, violation of the bill would be punishable as a misdemeanor of the second degree under state law, which comes with a fine of up to $1,000. In addition to the penalties for second degree misdemeanors, the license of any restaurant, store, or other business may be suspended upon the conviction of an owner or employee of the establishment for violation of the bill in connection with the business.
Although, at present, no lab-grown meat products are on the market for sale in the U.S., In November 2022, two companies—UPSIDE Foods and GOOD Meat—received “no questions” letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in response to their premarket consultation submissions for their cultivated chicken products. In June 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave the companies Grants of Inspection (GOIs) and label approvals for their cultured chicken products.
Under a March 2019 formal agreement, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and FDA agreed to a joint regulatory framework wherein FDA oversees cell collection, cell banks, and cell growth and differentiation of cultivated meat products. A transition from FDA to FSIS oversight takes place during the cell harvest stage of production. FSIS is then charged with overseeing the post-harvest processing and labeling of human food products derived from the cells of livestock and poultry.