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Sunday, June 16, 2024

On May 1, Senate Bill 1084 was signed, banning and criminalizing the sale and manufacture of cultured meat in Florida. While other states, including Tennessee, Alabama and Arizona, have considered similar bans, Florida was the first to actually implement it. This push for a ban stems from the science behind cultured meat being viewed as taboo and a strong pushback against having increased competition from the meat industry. 

The meat industry does not work in our favor.

Advocates of cultivated meat argue it's environmentally friendly and poses a lower risk of foodborne illness because it does not involve live animals. However, critics maintain that cultured meat is unnatural and potentially less healthful. 

It's important to remember that the FDA approved Upside Food's lab-grown chicken meat for human consumption in 2022, affirming that it is safe to eat. As informed individuals, we should be free to choose what we consume; this bill only hinders that freedom.

Banning cultured meat not only impedes progress in science but also limits our society's ability to diversify thought and opinion. Students across Florida are already fighting against restrictions on academic freedom, and this ban adds another hurdle. UF has one of the strongest programs in food science and agriculture in the United States, and this ban stifles our scientists and their advancements in cellular agriculture.

According to the Good Food Institute, cultivated meat could revolutionize our food system, using land 60 to 300 percent more efficiently than poultry and an astonishing 2000 to 4000 percent more efficiently than beef. This dramatic increase in efficiency could have profound benefits for biodiversity and climate, making it a game-changer for our planet's future. With the global demand for meat on the rise, now is the time for Floridians to speak up. 

As temperatures continue to rise and climate change affects us all, meat alternatives are a simple and innovative way to aid our world.  

With many people reluctant to adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet, finding alternatives that reduce animal slaughter and promote sustainability becomes even more imperative. Cultivated meat offers a viable solution, reducing the need for animal farming and its associated ethical and environmental issues. It’s time to embrace progress and protect our planet.

If you would like to read more about the topic explore here:

Valeria Gomez is a UF first-year graduate student in Human Nutrition.

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