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May 22, 2024  |  
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Brad Matthews


NextImg:Italy becomes first country worldwide to ban lab-grown meat

Italy became the first country in the world to ban the use, sale, import and export of lab-grown food, including meat Thursday.

The country’s Chamber of Deputies approved the bill 159 for to 53 against, confirming an earlier passage of the bill in the Italian Senate.

Italian Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida said on Facebook that the bill is a “defense of health, of the Italian production system, of thousands of jobs, of our culture and tradition,” as translated by Google.

Factories and other establishments that breach the new law can face fines of up to $162,700, lose the right to public funding for up to three years and risk being shut down, according to Reuters.

The bill also bans the use of meat terms to sell plant-based meat alternatives.

“Words like ‘tofu steak’ or ‘veg prosciutto’ . . . reveal an inappropriate phenomenon of using labels traditionally associated with meat to sell products with vegetable protein,” the bill’s text reads, as translated by the Financial Times.

While the bill got the backing of Italian farmers and traditionalists, others opposed the new law on the grounds that synthetic meats could help wean consumers off of carbon-intensive traditional meat.

“This bill tells Italians what they can and cannot eat … It is truly disheartening that Italy will be excluded from a new job-creating industry and barred from selling more climate-friendly foods,” the Italian Complementary Protein Alliance, which represents researchers and companies involved in synthetic meat and plant-based protein products, said in a release from the Good Food Institute Europe.

• Brad Matthews can be reached at bmatthews@washingtontimes.com.