(NEWSnet/AP) - Lab-grown meat is not currently available in U.S. grocery stores or restaurants – but some lawmakers are taking steps to limit it ahead of such an introduction.

Both Florida and Arizona earlier this month banned the sale of cultivated meat and seafood, which is grown from animal cells. In Iowa, the governor signed a bill prohibiting schools from buying lab-grown meat.

Federal lawmakers are also looking to restrict it.

It’s unclear how far these efforts will go. Some cultivated meat companies say they’re considering legal action, and some states – like Tennessee – shelved proposed bans after lawmakers argued they would restrict consumers’ choices.

The U.S. approved the sale of lab-grown meat for the first time in June 2023, allowing two California startups, Good Meat and Upside Foods, to sell cultivated chicken. Two high-end U.S. restaurants briefly added the products to their menus. Some cultivated meat companies began expanding production. One of Good Meat’s products went on sale at a grocery in Singapore.

But before long, some politicians were calling for a halt.

The pushback is happening even though lab-grown meat and seafood are far from reaching the market in a meaningful way because they’re currently expensive to create.

Cultivated products are grown in steel tanks using cells from a living animal, a fertilized egg or a storage bank. The cells are fed with special blends of water, sugar, fats and vitamins. Once they’ve grown, they’re formed into cutlets, nuggets and other shapes.

Lawmakers in seven states have now introduced legislation that would ban cultivated meat, according to Kim Tyrrell, an associate director with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In the U.S. Senate, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana and Republican Mike Rounds of South Dakota introduced a bill in January to prohibit the use of lab-grown meat in school lunch programs.

The topic is also gaining interest internationally. Italy banned the sale of lab-grown meat late last year. French lawmakers have also introduced a bill to ban it.

Backers of the bans say they want to protect farmers and consumers. Cultivated meat has only been around for about a decade, they say, and they’re concerned about its safety.

But the situation is complicated at the national level, where the meat industry doesn’t support bans on cultivated products. Some meat producers, like JBS Foods, are working on developing cultivated meat of their own.

“We do not support the route of banning these outright,” Sigrid Johannes, the director of government affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said. “We’re not afraid of competing with these products in the marketplace.”

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