Criminal Lab Grown Meat

An interview with Michael Roberts

The sale and production of lab-grown meat have been criminalized in Florida and Alabama, with other states considering similar legislation. Food law expert Professor Michael Roberts from UCLA Law School explains what the new laws do as well as how they fit into the federal regulatory framework and the historical context of food law and politics in the United States.

Key Discussion Points:

State-Level Bans:

  • Florida and Alabama Legislation: Both states have recently passed laws prohibiting the manufacture, sale, and distribution of lab-grown meat. Amost other things, these bans aim to protect traditional agriculture and address consumer safety concerns. Professor Roberts discusses the specifics of these laws, criticisms, and the legislative motivations behind them.

Federal Regulatory Framework:

  • USDA and FDA Collaboration: Professor Roberts provides insights into the joint regulatory framework established by the USDA and FDA for overseeing lab-grown meat. He explains the distinct roles of each agency in ensuring the safety and labeling of these products.

Historical Context and Legal Precedents:

  • Evolution of Food Law: The interview places the current bans within the historical context of food regulation in the United States. Professor Roberts traces the development of food law and the political forces that have shaped it, noting key moments and legal precedents from the battle over margarine to the GMO-labeling controversy.

Federalism and State vs. Federal Authority: The tension between state and federal authority in regulating food products is explored. Professor Roberts discusses the potential for legal challenges based on federal preemption principles and how state-level bans interact with federal regulations.


  • Attorney CLE accreditation 

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