Authored by Patricia Tolson via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
In an effort to protect its farming industry, its economy, and the health of its citizens, Italy recently became the first country to officially ban cultivated meat.
Cultivated meat, also known as lab-grown meat, is created in a lab through a five-step process in which stem cells from an animal are replicated and grown in a series of bioreactors before being blended with additives to create a more realistic texture. The meat cells are then drained in a centrifuge, formed, and packaged for distribution, according to consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
In a Nov. 16 Facebook post, Italian Minister of Agriculture Francesco Lollobrigida said, “In defense of health, of the Italian production system, of thousands of jobs, of our culture and tradition, with the law approved today, Italy is the first nation in the world to be safe from the social and economic risks of synthetic food," according to an English translation.
The bill passed the Italian Senate by a measure of 159–53 and was supported by the country's agricultural groups, which worked to protect Italy's $10.1 billion meat-processing industry.
Efforts in the United States to block lab-grown meat, or to ensure that consumers know what they're buying, include a 2018 law in Missouri that prohibits plant-based and lab-grown food from being labeled as “meat.”
"This act also prohibits misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry," the law states.
On Nov. 13, Florida state Rep. Tyler Sirois filed a bill that aims to prohibit the "manufacturing, sale, holding, or distribution of cultivated meat" in the state.
"Farming and cattle are incredibly important industries to Florida," the Republican legislator told Politico. "So I think this is a very relevant discussion for our state to have."
Should the bill, HB 435, become law, restaurants and stores in violation could be fined up to $5,000, and manufacturers, processors, packers, or distributors who misrepresent or mislabel the food could be fined up to $10,000 per violation.
Wilton Simpson, commissioner of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, is fully on board with Mr. Sirois's effort.
"Without this legislation, untested, potentially unsafe, and nearly unregulated laboratory-produced meat could be made available in Florida," Mr. Simpson said in a statement to The Epoch Times.
"One of my top responsibilities is ensuring the safety and wholesomeness of our food supply and protecting Florida’s consumers, and this proposal does just that.”
On Nov. 22, the measure moved to the Agriculture, Conservation, and Resiliency Subcommittee.
Cultivated Meat Market
So far, only two countries—the United States and Singapore—have approved cultivated meat for human consumption.
Research and Markets predicts that the global lab-grown meat market will reach nearly $2 billion by 2035. It lists 16 cultivated meat companies, five of which are based in the United States, three in Israel, two in the Netherlands, two in Singapore, and one each in China, India, the UK, and Switzerland.
"In 2025, the nuggets segment is expected to account for the largest share of the lab-grown meat market," Research and Markets states in its January analysis.
"The large market share of this segment is attributed to the increasing adoption of on-the-go lifestyles, the growing demand for snacking products, and the increasing demand for frozen products."
However, lab-grown burger patties are projected to register the highest compound annual growth rate from 2025 through 2035, according to the company.
In November 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it had "completed its first pre-market consultation for a human food made from cultured animal cells."
On June 21, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) granted its first-ever approval to produce cell-cultured meat to two companies in the United States, Good Meat and Upside Food.
Good Meat—the cultivated meat brand of the food technology company Eat Just, Inc.—has manufacturing facilities in the United States and Singapore.
According to the company, the USDA approval allows for its first lab-grown chicken product to be produced and sold in the United States. Four months earlier, the company had received its "No Questions" letter from the FDA, which meant it passed a food safety review.
"Our first product is cultivated chicken that is prepared and served in multiple formats and was approved for sale in Singapore in 2020 and the United States in 2023," the company states on its website.
"We’re also working on other types of meat, including cultivated beef using cells from California pasture-raised cattle and Wagyu from the Toriyama farm in Japan."
Washington-based restaurant China Chilcano added a dish using Good Meat cultivated chicken to its menu in July.
Major investors in Good Meat are UBS O'Connor, a hedge fund management firm within UBS Asset Management, and the venture capital firms of Graphene Ventures and Singapore-based K3 Ventures.
Bill Gates has been a major investor in Upside Foods since its launch in 2017.
Upside Foods said its USDA approval clears the company to produce and sell its cultivated chicken. The company says it takes about three weeks to produce its chicken filet product.
"Not to get bogged down in semantics, but we can’t overstate this: We’re making meat!" the company states on its website.
"Cultivated meat is a brand-new product category, so we understand that there’s a lot of confusion out there about what it is and what it isn’t. For one thing, cultivated meat is not vegan or vegetarian."
According to the company, its cell-cultivated chicken is made up of "more than 99 percent chicken cells."
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