Italy has banned the production and sale of “cultured meat”, citing health concerns and the need to protect livestock farmers, even if the product has not yet been approved for sale in the EU.
On Thursday, Italy became the first country in the European Union to ban “cultured meat”, produced in a laboratory from animal tissue cells.
The law on it, which was approved by the Parliament with the threat of heavy fines, also prohibits the description of proteins of vegetable origin as “meat”.
Many companies around the world sell “plant-based meat alternatives” that are advertised as a solution to the ethical issues surrounding industrial agriculture and an environmental solution since animal husbandry is one of the main causes of greenhouse gas emissions.
The sale of “cultured meat” is currently allowed in Singapore and the United States, but not in the EU, although European companies have raised funds to fund research into it.
The EU considers “cultured meat” a “new food” and as such, like any new product, it should receive marketing authorization.
Italian Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida said that “cultured meat” “breaks the noble relationship between land, man and work that has accompanied us for millennia and allowed us to cultivate the land.”
The Italian non-governmental “International Organization for the Protection of Animals” believes that the new law is unnecessary “since ‘farmed meat’ has not yet been approved for human consumption in Europe and therefore cannot be placed on the market”.