U.S. Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) on Jan. 26 introduced legislation that would ban cultivated meat products from being served in federally subsidized school lunches. The School Lunch Integrity Act of 2024 would prohibit the use of cell-cultured meats under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP).
Rounds’ announcement repeatedly referred to the products as “fake meat” and noted they’re being developed with the intention of eliminating the need to raise livestock – which ought to worry voters in the senators’ home states of South Dakota and Montana. “Our students should not be test subjects for cell-cultivated ‘meat’ experiments,” said Rounds.
“With the support of environmental activists, dozens of companies across the United States have started to research and produce cell cultivated protein,” Rounds’ note said. “Last summer, [USDA] moved to issue grants of inspection for cell-cultured meat production, allowing for two companies to produce cell-cultivated chicken products. These recent actions undermine the important work of American livestock producers.”
This legislation is endorsed by the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, R-CALF USA, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and South Dakota Pork Producers.
Similar efforts are afoot. In January, two bills entered the Arizona statehouse, one prohibiting the use of the terms “beef” or “meat” to describe cultivated and plant-based products but not a ban on sales, the other was a ban on all sales, including wording that would help ranchers sue for damages. Similar bills were introduced last year in Florida and Texas.