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Over the July Fourth holiday, many Americans will be grilling and barbecuing with their families and friends. A 2020 survey showed that Independence Day is the most popular holiday for grilling. In 2024, there is a growing discussion about using cell-cultivated meats to replace traditional meat and poultry.

What is Cell-Cultivated Meat?

A 2023 Congressional Research Service (CRS) report defined cell-cultivated meat as being developed in a lab, grown from a sample of animal cells that takes the place of slaughtering of animals for human consumption. The process for cultivation involves taking a biopsy of animal cells, cell banking, cell growth, harvesting, and food processing.

The report further states that in 2022, the United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved two companies to sell cell-cultivated chicken. By mid-2023, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) granted inspection to these companies, marking the first regulatory approval for cell-cultivated meat in the United States. Congress directed the FDA and USDA to delineate regulatory responsibilities in 2019, resulting in the FDA overseeing the initial production stages and USDA ensuring product safety and proper labeling at harvest.

However, state lawmakers have also taken up this issue, seeking to regulate the selling and labeling of cell-cultivated meat and poultry in their respective states. Between 2018 and 2022, at least nine states implemented standards regulating whether manufacturers of cell-cultivated meat may sell products in the state or label products as “meat” (similar to our previous article looking at plant-based meat labeling legislation).

Alabama Bans the Sale of Cell-Cultivated Meat

On May 8, 2024 Governor Kay Ivey (R) signed legislation banning the sale of cell-cultivated  meat. The law goes into effect on October 1, 2024. The law prohibits the production and sale of food made from cultured animal cells, classifies violations as a Class C misdemeanor with potential revocation of food safety permits, and empowers the Department of Agriculture and Industries and the Department of Public Health to establish rules.

However, the bill includes a provision allowing federal, state, or local governmental entities or institutions of higher education to conduct research in Alabama related to the production of cell-cultivated food products.

Florida Enacts First-in-the-Nation Ban on Lab-Grown Meat

On May 1, 2024, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed legislation prohibiting the sale of cell-cultivated meat in the Sunshine State. In a press release, the governor noted this was a first-in-the-nation bill banning cell-cultivated meat. SB 1084 banned the manufacturing for sale, selling, holding or offering for sale, or distributing cultivated meat, defining “cultivated meat” as any meat or food product produced from cultured animal cells.

Kentucky Legislation to Ban Cultivated Meat

In February 2024, HB 597 was introduced to prohibit the manufacturing, selling, holding, offering for sale, or distribution of cell-cultivated meat in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Violators would be subject to a Class B misdemeanor under the bill. The legislation did not advance in the 2024 session.

Pennsylvania Bill Introduced to Ban Cell-Cultivated Meat and Poultry

In June 2024, two Pennsylvania state representatives introduced HB 2441 to ban the manufacturing, selling, delivering for sale, holding for sale, or offering for sale any cell-cultivated meat and poultry.

The bill would define cell-cultivated meat and poultry as a product designed for human consumption that is made wholly or in part from the cell culture or DNA of cattle, sheep, swine, goats, or any bird and grown/cultivated outside of the live animal or bird from where the cell culture or DNA originated.

Tennessee Bills Addressing Cell-Cultivated Food Products

Tennessee lawmakers introduced various bills related to cell-cultivated food products in 2024. Notably, HB 2860 and SB 2870 would prohibit selling, distributing, or importing for sale or distribution of cell-cultivated food products. The bills would define “cell-cultured food products” as a food product intended for human consumption that is produced without the slaughter of an animal by growing cells harvested from various species in a controlled environment. The bill would subject violations to a $1 million fine.

Two other bills, HB 2754 and SB 2603, were introduced that would stipulate that cell-cultivated proteins cannot be labeled or advertised as meat, meat food products, poultry, or poultry products in the state.

All four bills died in the 2024 session.

From The Experts

Expert insights from the authors at Duane Morris Government Strategies.


Ryan Stevens

State legislation on cell-cultivated meat reflects a complex interplay between innovation and regulation. While some states are embracing this technology for its potential environmental and ethical benefits, others are prioritizing traditional agricultural interests and consumer protection.

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