Senators Seek to Bar Lab-Grown Meat From School Meal Programs

  • In 2023, the FDA determined that lab-grown meat was safe.
  • The Agricultural Department approved two companies to sell their cell-cultivated meat.
  • Lawmakers in several states are trying to ban the meat.
  • Two US senators want to keep the products out of schools.

( – In 2023, US regulators approved the sale of chicken made from animal cells and grown in a lab. The green light from the Agricultural Department meant the meat could make its way into restaurants and supermarket shelves in the near future. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had already deemed the meat from two companies safe to eat.

At least three states are trying to ban meat grown in labs, and lawmakers at the federal level want to keep it out of schools.

Senators Introduce Bill

US Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced the School Lunch Integrity Act. The legislation seeks to amend the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 and the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act to prohibit lab-grown meat from being served at schools.

The legislation was referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. The senators released a joint statement making it clear they do not support the process of growing meat in a lab. Both lawmakers are from states where ranching is a huge part of their economies.

Rounds stated he doesn’t believe students should be “test subjects for cell-cultivated meat experiments.” Further, he pointed out that South Dakota ranchers produce high-quality meat, and those products are sold in schools. He said that with the availability of high-quality meat being what it is, “there’s no reason to be serving fake, lab-grown meat products in the cafeteria.”

Tester also applauded the high-quality meat grown in Montana, calling it “the best meat in the world.” He said he believes kids should “be getting the best.”

Ethan Lane, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s vice president of government affairs, also spoke out against lab-grown meat in the lawmakers’ statement. He agreed that the federal government shouldn’t allow fake meat into schools. He’s especially concerned by the lack of information about allergen research and nutrition.

States Move to Ban Lab Meat

Lawmakers in Tennessee, Arizona, and Florida have moved to prohibit lab-grown meat. In January, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) declared his support for a bill that would ban the product in his state. He said Florida wasn’t “going to do that fake meat.”

In Tennessee, lawmakers introduced a bill that will prohibit sales of the meat, and violators could be fined $1 million. Arizona vowed to protect its ranchers.

Copyright 2024,