The Italian government has approved a bill banning the production and sale of lab-grown food and animal feed.
According to Agriculture Minister, Francesco Lollobrigida (pictured), the purpose of the measure is to "ensure the highest level of protection of the health of citizens" as well as to "preserve the agri-food heritage" of Italy.
He added that the Italian government "wanted to protect our culture and tradition, including food and wine. If synthetic foods were to be introduced to the market, there would be more unemployment, more risks to biodiversity, and products that, in our opinion, would not guarantee well-being".
According to the measure, production of food or feed 'from cell cultures or tissues derived from vertebrate animals' has been prohibited, with the regulation also applying to seafood and dairy products.
In case of a violation, the product will be confiscated, and the operator is subject to a fine ranging from €10,000 to a maximum equal to 10% of its most recent full-year turnover.
Those violating the law would also lose the right to public funding for up to three years, while factories in which violations occur can be shut down.
The proposal now goes before the Italian Parliament for final approval.
Read More: Italian Large-Scale Retail Sector Sees Sales Up, Margins Decline In 2022
'Safeguard Domestic Production'
Agriculture lobby group Coldiretti argues that the ban is needed to safeguard domestic production ‘from the attacks of multinational companies,’ stressing that it will save €580 billion worth of the national food supply chain.
According to a survey by Italian food magazine Italia a Tavola, 84% of Italians are against laboratory-produced food.
However, the proposal has opposed organisations and animal rights groups which see lab-grown meat as a solution to issues including protecting the environment from carbon emissions and food safety.
Since coming into power last October, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has moved to protect the Italian food industry.
A series of decrees have been introduced, one of which sees the introduction of a ban on the use of flour derived from insects such as crickets and locusts in pizza or pasta.
Read More: Italian Fruit Consumption Impacted By Low Availability, Says Coldiretti
© 2023 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest Supply Chain news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.