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POLITICS: What’s the Beef with “Cultivated Meat”? Florida Moves Toward Putting Cattle Before Capitalism

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The post What’s the Beef with “Cultivated Meat”? Florida Moves Toward Putting Cattle Before Capitalism first appeared on USSA News | The Tea Party’s Front Page.. Visit USSANews.com.

Florida this month may be forcing the question of whether the people prefer cattle or capitalism. A bill in the state would ban lab-grown meat, an effort supported by beef suppliers who want to slow the production and demand for the alternative product. The alleged “ethical and health concerns” remain speculative and unclear. As Adam Smith noted “this is one of those cases in which the imagination is baffled by the facts.”

China’s government is making huge investments into cultivated meat as are companies in other nations. While allowing research to continue, this bill (if replicated) could drain the industry of necessary capital as it seeks to improve products and reach consumers in the United States. The industry has currently attracted billions in investment from venture capitalists.

The Chinese appear delighted and cited the bill as potentially giving them a market advantage.

HB 1071, sponsored by Rep. Danny Alvarez, R-Valrico, would ban and criminalize the sale of cultivated meat. It would make Florida the first state to implement such a law, but other states like Alabama, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Iowa have similar proposals.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have studied the safety of these products and allowed sales in the United States. Alvarez insists that legislators are simply “being proactive.”

The bill appears to have the support of the DeSantis Administration. Florida Department of Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson, insists that “there are a lot of unanswered questions about the safety, ethics, and economic impact of synthetic meat. We support a ban until questions are answered,”

The safety issues have been studied by the agencies and there is now compelling research on some hidden health threats. Beef producers have cited “contamination with heavy metals, microplastics and nanoplastics, allergens such as additives to improve the taste and texture of these products, chemical contaminants, toxic components, antibiotics and prions.” However, many of these risks are either shared with other products or capable of elimination through inspection and permitting.

It is entirely unclear how the replication of cells is “unethical.” However, it is the economic concerns that appear the real reason behind the legislation. The bill has the markings of classic market protectionism. The beef producers want less competition and politicians seem eager to accommodate.

Such protectionist measures rarely work beyond driving up costs for consumers and limiting product access. More importantly, it could put the country far behind China in developing this market.

I admit that my natural default is to allow the market to sort out the tastes and demands of consumers. Government intervention rarely changes market demand. It tends to only shift costs and wealth while the market continues to respond to demand. China will happily fill that demand. I was equally critical recently to the Biden Administration and companies resisting markets and consumer choices.

I am not particularly keen on trying cultivated meat. As my kids will attest, I am hopelessly habit bound and tend to resist such changes. (I just wait for my ties and furniture to come back into style). Yet, capitalism is a particularly hard habit to break given its proven success in generating wealth and progress in this and other countries.

Ronald Coase once observed in his famous hypothetical of a fight between a farmer and rancher that the choice was simply what people favored “cattle or crops.” The people of Florida may soon have to decide between cattle and capitalism.

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Author: jonathanturley


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The post What’s the Beef with “Cultivated Meat”? Florida Moves Toward Putting Cattle Before Capitalism first appeared on USSA News | The Tea Party’s Front Page.. Visit USSANews.com.



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