Italian government moves to ban cell-based food in bid to protect culture
Italy’s government has backed a bill banning the use of cell-based food, it announced in a conference on Tuesday.
If the proposal is passed by parliament, companies in Italy will not be allowed to produce food or feed “from cell cultures or tissues derived from vertebrate animals,” the bill seen by Reuters stated. A breach of the rules could result in fines of up to €60,000.
Agriculture Minister, Francesco Lollobrigida, said in the conference that Italy is the first nation to say no to “synthetic” food. He added that laboratory products do not guarantee quality or wellbeing, nor protect Italy’s culture and traditions.
The Minister also stated that if cultivated food production were to succeed in establishing itself, it would produce greater unemployment.
Mathilde Alexandre, ProVeg Cell-Ag project coordinator, commented: “The bill introduced by the Italian government to ban cultivated meat is a draconian measure that ignores the massive economic and environmental potential that cultivated meat holds”.
She added: “Cultivated meat is an important new technology that can positively affect the food system by reducing carbon emissions and pollution, and supports animal welfare and biodiversity, while being a real lever for economic growth”.
The news comes just a little over a week after Eat Just’s cultivated meat division, Good Meat, announced that it had received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration for its cell-based chicken.
Alice Ravenscroft, head of policy at the Good Food Institute Europe, said that the passing of the law would shut down the economic potential of the field in Italy, “holding back scientific progress and climate mitigation efforts, and limiting consumer choice”.