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A company producing ‘lab-grown’ meat hosts a tasting event in Miami amidst the implementation of a Florida ban

People on a rooftop terrace for lab grown meat products (Via Ben Foster/Getty Images)

As Florida prepares to enforce its ban on “lab-grown” meat next week, one manufacturer marked what could be its final celebration with a tasting party in Miami.

Upside Foods, based in California, hosted an evening event on Thursday at a rooftop venue in Wynwood, a neighborhood known for its vibrant art scene, breweries, and trendy eateries.

“This meat is delicious,” remarked Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of Upside Foods. “We believe everyone should have the choice to decide what they eat.”

In June 2023, the U.S. approved the sale of “cell-cultivated” or “cell-cultured” meat, allowing companies like Upside Foods and another California firm, Good Meat, to sell cultivated chicken.

Earlier this year, Florida and Alabama passed laws banning the sale of cultivated meat and seafood grown from animal cells. Other states and federal lawmakers are also considering restrictions, citing concerns that the product could impact farmers and pose safety risks.

Chef Mika Leon cooks cultivated chicken (Via Ben Foster/Getty Images)

Although Florida cattle ranchers supported Governor Ron DeSantis in signing the ban into law in May, Valeti noted that state officials did not consult with Upside Foods beforehand.

“It’s clear that the governor and lawmakers have been misinformed,” Valeti commented. “We simply want the opportunity to explain the proven science and safety of our product.”

Cultivated products are grown in tanks using cells from live animals, fertilized eggs, or cell banks. These cells are nurtured with specific mixtures of water, sugar, fats, and vitamins. Once grown, they are shaped into cutlets, nuggets, and other forms.

Chef Mika Leon, owner of Caja Caliente in Coral Gables, prepared the cultivated chicken for Thursday’s event. Attendees from South Florida had the chance to experience their first, and possibly final, taste of cultivated meat before Florida’s ban takes effect on Monday. Leon served chicken tostadas topped with avocado, chipotle crema, and beet sprouts.

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