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Italy Prohibits the Production of Lab-grown Meat and Tightens Regulations on the Labelling of Plant-based Meat

Italy Prohibits the Production of Lab-grown Meat and Tightens Regulations on the Labelling of Plant-based Meat Cultivated meat, Italy, plant-based meat, Policy Food and Beverage Business

The bill, which bans the production and promotion of cultivated meat, was passed by Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, its lower house. Anyone who breaches it could be subject to a fine of €60,000. The bill also includes restrictions on what manufacturers can call plant-based meat alternatives, preventing them from using meat-based names such as ‘salami’ or ‘steak.’

Italy’s Minister for Agriculture, Francesco Lollobrigada, stated, “We protect our food, our food system, to maintain the relationship between food, land and human work that has accompanied us for millennia, guaranteeing the quality that Italy expresses and which is the expression of food safety for the entire planet.” According to Lollobrigada, protecting workers, agricultural entrepreneurs, and citizens’ right to eat well is crucial. He noted that the EU has not given the novel food regulatory approval and that the ban aims to preserve the livelihoods of Italian workers and culinary traditions.

Critics feel that the ban stifles the economic opportunity of participating in a growing industry, as well as threatening the potential of cultivated meat to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Francesca Gallelli, Public Affairs Consultant at Good Food Institute Europe, stated, “Countries across the world increasingly recognize the food security and public health benefits of investing in cultivated meat, and this sector will continue to advance despite the Italian government’s decision to isolate the country from the economic opportunities presented by this growing sector.”

The bill will extinguish Italy’s cultivated meat sector entirely. Gallelli pointed out that “the Italian cultivated meat sector is much smaller than those of some other European countries, but this law will effectively make it illegal for local start-ups to sell cultivated meat in the country, leaving Italy behind as the rest of the world races forward to develop cultivated meat.”

The bill also includes restrictions on the labeling of plant-based meat products, introducing more consumer confusion, according to Gallelli. She believes that everyday language like ‘steak’ and ‘salami’ help consumers make informed decisions about what they put in their baskets, and unnecessary labeling restrictions will only create confusion where none existed before.

Farming groups campaigned strongly in favor of the bill. One of its biggest farming associations, Coldiretti, was a strong voice in favor of the ban. According to Gallelli, Italian farmers have not been informed about the potential benefits of alternative proteins and should be helped to maximize these opportunities.

Neither the Italian Embassy in the UK nor Slow Food in Italy, which promotes ‘traditional cooking,’ responded to a request for comment ahead of publication.

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