The Alabama House of Representatives recently passed Senate Bill (SB) 23 banning the production or sale of cell-based meat products (also known as “cultured” or “cultivated” meat products) in the state. The bill would go into effect on October 1, 2024, if passed.

If signed into law, the bill would “prohibit the manufacture, sale, or distribution of food products made from cultured animal cells” in Alabama. Violation of the law would be considered a Class C misdemeanor, and could result in the revocation or suspension of an establishment’s food safety license upon conviction of the owner or an employee. Civil penalties for foodservice establishments would range from $100–$1,000. (The bill exempts any “federal, state, or local governmental entity or institution of higher education” from researching the production of cultivated meat products in Alabama. The amendment was made in response to objections from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA] because the bill would prevent its exploration of cultured meat for space food).

Proponents of the bill raise concerns with the unstudied long-term health effects of cell-based meat.

SB23 is sponsored by Senator Jack W. Williams (R-Wilmer). Before the bill can be signed into law by Governor Kay Ivy, it must return to the Senate for concurrence.

Alabama is not the only state to consider legislation banning or restricting cultivated meat. For example, Arizona House Bill 2121 would prohibit the sale or production of any “cell-cultured animal product for human or animal consumption.” Additionally, the bill would give anyone whose business is adversely affected by the sale of lab-grown meat to sue the producers of cell-based products and collect damages of up to $100,000. Arizona’s cell-based meat ban legislation passed the state House and is currently in the Senate.