The Move Toward Regulating Cultivated Cell Food Products - AGPROfessionals - Animal Agriculture Beef Production Dairy.png

The Move Towards Regulating Cultivated Cell Food Products

There is a movement across the country to ban or highly regulate cell-cultivated food products made in a laboratory. Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas are on the front lines of stopping and restricting lab-grown “meats.”


The state of Arizona has created two bills to regulate lab-grown foods. The first is HB 2244. HB 2244 would make it illegal to label products not from livestock or poultry as “meat.” On January 22, the Arizona House Committee on Land, Agriculture, and Rural Affairs voted 6-3 in favor of HB 2244. On February 1, the Bill was passed by the House of Representatives. The Senate read HB 2244 on February 20.

In addition to HB 2244, Rep. David Marshal proposed HB 2121. The goal behind this Bill is to prohibit both the sale and production of cell-cultured meat. On February 22, the House passed HB 2121. The Senate read the bill on February 29. The bill passed its third reading in the Arizona Senate on April 4, 2024.


In the State of Florida, SB 1084 and HB 1071 have been proposed to strengthen the agricultural sector. Both legislative proposals state that unlawful activity under the Bills would be to “manufacture, sell or deliver, or offer for sale ‘cultivated meat’ for human consumption.”

On February 11, the Florida Agriculture Committee passed SB 1084 in a 4-1 vote. It was moved to the Florida Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government on February 16. The House passed the bill on March 6.

HB 1071 was found favorable by the Florida Regulatory Reform and Economic Development Subcommittee on January 24 in a 9-5 vote. It was also found favorable by the Florida Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee on February 12 and the Florida Infrastructure Strategies Committee on February 22. The House first read HB 1071 on February 26. It was tabled on March 5, 2024.


Iowa SF 2391 aimed at clearly labeling lab-grown meats. Terminology such as “meatless” or “imitation” would be required on packaging. SF 2391 would only apply to restaurants and food processing facilities. Violations could result in a civil penalty between $500 and $10,000 per offense.

SF 2391 was introduced to the Senate on February 19. On February 27, the Senate passed the Bill in a 49-0 vote. The Bill was referred to the Agriculture Subcommittee on February 27. The Subcommittee passed the Bill 2-0 on March 6.

Iowa issued the following notice: “That the Senate has on April 10, 2024, concurred in the House amendment and passed the following bill in which the concurrence of the Senate was asked: Senate File 2391, a bill for an act prohibiting the misbranding of certain food products, and providing penalties.”


The State of Alabama introduced SB 23 to “prohibit the manufacture, sale, or distribution of meat produced from cultured animals.” Sen. Jack Williams sponsored the Bill, which would also add criminal and administrative penalties for violations.

SB 23 passed the Senate on February 15 by a 32-0 vote. It was first read by the House on February 20. On March 6, the substitute was adopted by the Alabama House.


The state of Tennessee introduced two bills prohibiting the sale and distribution of “cell-cultured food products.” SB 2870 and HB 2860 both state that “a person shall not sell or distribute, or import for sale or distribution into this state, cell-cultured food products.” If a person or an employee of a person is found to have violated the laws enacted by the bills, the commissioner may revoke their food permit or establishment. In addition, they may face a fine of $1 million.

SB 2870 was introduced to the Senate on February 1 and passed on first consideration the same day. On March 13, the Tennessee Senate Commerce and Labor Committee recommended that it be passed.

HB 2860 was introduced to the House on January 31 and was referred to the Tennessee Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee on February 7. The Bill is on the Subcommittee’s agenda for March 19. No further information has been provided on the Tennessee General Assembly website.


Senator Charles Perry successfully introduced SB 664 to ensure that lab-grown foods are correctly labeled. The Bill requires that one of the following words or phrases be used in the package labeling: “analogue; meatless; plant-based; made from plants, or a similar qualifying term.” In addition, SB 664 requires cell-cultured products to be labeled as “cell-cultured; lab-grown; or similar qualifying term or disclaimer intended to clearly communicate the consumer to the contents of the product.”

The Bill was passed by the Senate on April 20, 2023, and by the House on May 2, 2023. Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 664 on May 15, 2023, and it became effective on September 1, 2023.

Federal Legislation

Sponsored by Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), the School Lunch Integrity Act of 2024 aims to prohibit the use of cell-cultivated foods in school lunches. The Bill would amend the Richard B. School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966. The School Lunch Integrity Act was introduced to the United States Senate on January 25 and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

“Montana ranchers grow the best meat in the world, that’s a fact – and our students ought to be getting the best in their school breakfasts and lunches every day,” said Senator Jon Tester in a press release. “This commonsense bill will make sure our schools can serve real meat from our ranchers, not a fake substitute that’s grown in a lab.”

Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) reintroduced the Real Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully Act, or Real MEAT Act, on November 9, 2023. The Bill would prohibit the sale of any lab-grown fake “meat” product without the word “imitation” on the packaging. In addition, the packaging must include “a statement that clearly indicates the product is not derived from or does not contain meat.” The REAL Meat Act of 2023 was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on November 9, 2023.

Pressure from Venture Capitalists

Investors in these fake cell-cultured food products are not silent in their opposition to new legislation regulating their products. A letter to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Speaker Paul Renner, and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo made this clear. In the letter, these cell-cultured food makers and the investment groups that back them, focused on the money they have invested – almost $3 billion. Along with the financial impact it would have on these individuals, they shared their concerns with the state of Florida restricting “a vital segment of the American Biotechnology center.”

The Florida letter is just one example of the pressures that will continue to come from venture capitalist investors.

Environmental Impact is 4-25 Times Higher Than Traditional Beef Production

The true environmental impact of lab-grown cell-cultured food items has not been made readily available to the public. UC Davis scientists discovered that the potential environmental footprint with lab-grown foods is four to 25 times greater than the conventional beef production.

A UC Davis news article outlined what goes into lab-grown foods which includes highly refined or purified growth media. This purified growth media is the ingredient that must be used to help animal cells multiply in the lab, making the process more “pharmaceutical” and less true “food.” “If companies have to purify growth media to pharmaceutical levels, it uses more resources, which then increases global warming potential,” said Derrick Risner, a UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology doctoral graduate, in the UC Davis news article. “If this product continues to be produced using the “pharma” approach, it’s going to be worse for the environment and more expensive than conventional beef production.”

Protecting Agriculture

The introduction of bills against cell-cultured laboratory foods is a stance for the protection and preservation of animal agriculture. The manufacturing of lab-grown “meats” stands in opposition to traditional farming, ranching, and meat production, all of which are vital to the economy in the United States.


Arizona HB 2244 HERE

Arizona HB 2121 HERE

Florida SB 1084 HERE

Florida HB 1071 HERE

AGPROfessionals previous article on Arizona and Florida Legislation HERE

Alabama SB 23 HERE

ABC 33/40 on Alabama SB23 HERE

Texas SB 664 HERE

Texas Farm Bureau on SB 664 HERE

Iowa SF 2391 HERE

Tennessee SB 2870 and HB 2860 HERE

School Lunch Integrity Act of 2024 (S.3674) HERE

Food Safety Magazine on the School Lunch Integrity Act of 2024 HERE

Senator Jon Tester Press Release on the School Lunch Integrity Act of 2024 HERE

Real MEAT Act of 2023 (S. 3281) HERE

Food Safety Magazine on the Real MEAT Act of 2023 HERE

Vox on Tennessee SB 2870 and HB 2860 HERE

Letter from Venture Capitalist Cellular Food Investors to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis HERE

UC Davis on Lab Grown "Meats" Carbon Footprint HERE

Successful Farming on Lab-Grown Meat's Carbon Footprint HERE