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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill this week banning the sale of lab-grown meat in the state. It becomes the fourth state to do so, joining Alabama, Arizona and Tennessee.

“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 signing the bill. “We will save our beef.”

His comment signifies how the idea of lab-grown meat has taken on greater significance beyond the industry, given that most observers see lab-grown meat as being years away from being commercially viable, if it ever is. Growing this cell- based, or “cultured” meat, requires huge energy costs that so far have made it unviable. But there are dozens of companies trying, not only here but in China, which is considered the main competitor to the U.S. in the lab-grown meat space.

One critic of the decision, the owner of a “fungi-based” meat company, told NBC News that banning lab-   grown meat is like Blockbuster Video banning video streaming. Watching Netflix has less of an “ick factor” than eating meat grown in a lab, and most consumers are always going to want the real thing. But if the technology becomes viable, state-level bans will do little to stop the spread of this “product.”


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