Contrary to what a lot of thinking over the past couple of decades, Embalming was not developed by funeral directors.
The current practice of embalming actually began back in the days of the Egyptians. It became popular during the time of the civil war when young men were being killed on the battles fields and then transported home. During the same period, a beloved President Abraham Lincoln, was shot and killed and his body was transported across the country by train for the citizens to see, before his burial. This could not have happened without the proper embalming techniques to preserve the body for the long transport.
Contrary to what most people believe, the primary purpose of embalming for the purposes of a funeral is disinfection with an attempt to control deadly diseases. Preservation is secondary. We are all a part of the cycle of life and God made us to return to our basic elements. Embalming just slows the process.
So when is embalming necessary and what does the law say about it?
Florida State law is pretty specific with regards to when it is necessary to embalm a body. According to Florida statues it is a requirement that a human body must be embalmed or kept in a suitable cool environment after 24 hours. There is also a rule which requires embalming for common transport carriers, such as an airliner.. again, this is strictly for the purposes of disinfection. For the purposes of a "Green" or "Natural" burial in a cemetery designated for natural burial, embalming is absolutely prohibited.. In recent years we have seen the reduction in the amount of families requesting that embalming not be performed. In the case of the simple, non-ceremonial cremation for instance, there are no calling hours which would require this and the body is simply kept in a dignified area which is climate controlled until the time that the permits are issued for cremation.