Yesterday, November 16, Italian Parliament approved a bill banning the production and sale of artificial meat grown in a laboratory from animal cells. Violators will be fined from €10 thousand to €150 thousand. In addition, the new law prohibits the inclusion of words such as “steak”, “salami” and other names of ordinary meat products in the names of plant-based meat substitutes. The Italian government says the decision will protect Italian culinary traditions, local producers and public health.
So far, there are isolated examples of the introduction of laboratory-grown meat in the world. In 2020, Singapore is the first in the world allowed sale of artificial meat – chicken from the Eat Just company. In June, the first permit for the sale of such meat issued in USA.
Producers of conventional meat are afraid of competition: last year, one of the largest Italian agricultural associations, Coldiretti, launched a campaign demanding a ban on such meat. Her petition has collected approximately half a million signatures and received the support of several thousand local and regional administrations in the country.
A bill banning the production and sale of artificial meat was prepared by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture; in March, the Italian Senate approved the document. After this, Italy sent an application for approval of the new law to the EU – rules of this kind are usually discussed with the participation of other members of the bloc, this procedure prevents the creation of barriers within the union. However, Italy eventually withdrew this application and simply passed the law.
Italy’s Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida called the decision “a bold step in response to citizen demand that puts Italy at the forefront of the world.” “We are the first country to ban it,” he wrote. Some opposition politicians criticized the decision, calling it the result of lobbying activities by agricultural producers and noting that the EU has not yet issued permits for artificial meat.
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