Cultivated meat in the crosshairs – Food Business News

PHOENIX — House Bill 2121 has been introduced in the Arizona legislature and would ban the sale or production of cultivated meat in the state if enacted. Those who violate the legislation would face a penalty of up to $25,000.
The text of the legislation offers two primary reasons for the legislation — to protect public health and to protect the state’s cattle industry.
“This state’s cattle ranching industry is integral to this state’s history, culture, values and economy,” according to the legislation. “Cattle is one of the five foundational pillars that have driven this state’s economy since territorial days.”
Arizona’s proposed legislation comes in the wake of similar legislation introduced in Florida. In that state, the bill would ban the manufacturing, sale, holding or distribution of cultivated meat in the state if passed.
In an interview with Politico, State Representative Tyler I. Sirois, a sponsor of the legislation, said, “Farming and cattle are incredibly important industries to Florida. So, I think this is a very relevant discussion for our state to have.”
And on Sept. 1, 2023, a law went into effect in Texas that requires the labels of cultivated meat products sold in the state to say “cell-cultured,” “lab-grown” or have similar language on the packaging. The law also takes aim at plant-based meat alternatives, requiring those sold in Texas to have “analogue,” “meatless,” “plant-based,” “made from plants,” or similar language appear next to the label with similar size text as the product name.
In June 2023, two cultivated meat companies received a Grant of Inspection from the US Department of Agriculture to sell cultivated chicken in the United States. The GOI marks the final step of the pre-market regulatory review necessary for food technology companies to begin commercial production and sales.
Investment in the cultivated meat space also has continued, with companies like Meatable, Delft, The Netherlands, raising $35 million in a recent funding round, and Clever Carnivore, Chicago, raising $7 million in a seed round.
And while states like Arizona and Florida are proposing to ban the manufacture and sale of cultivated meat, in California the University of California, Davis, will open its Integrative Center for Alternative Meat and Protein on Jan. 17. The center will work toward large-scale commercialization and technological advancement of alternative proteins, including cultivated meat, plant- and fungal-based foods, and hybrids that combine conventional meat products with alternative proteins.
“Expansion of conventional animal agriculture is unlikely to be able to meet demand at a reasonable price,” said David Block, director of the center and a professor in the chemical engineering and viticulture and enology departments. “We have to come up with alternatives and create additional sustainable food sources.”
Noting that the Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of cultivated chicken last year, the product has a long way to go before it hits supermarket shelves.
“We are not to the point where the product is anywhere near the cost of conventional meat,” Block said. “Widespread distribution of affordable products is likely to take 10 to 15 years.”
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