Italy bans lab-grown meat and ‘tofu steak’ in a bid to protect prosciutto and the people who make it

The Italian government has decided to ban the production of lab-grown meat, a historic step the country’s right-wing government says it took to protect Italian culture and its agricultural sector.

The country became the first in Europe to ban the cultivation of artificial meat with a bill signed into law on Thursday after winning an overwhelming majority in the Italian Senate.

Factories producing lab-grown meat face fines of up to €150,000 ($162,700) under the new guidelines.

“Cauliflower steaks” are also off the menu as the country moved to ban the use of meat-related words to market vegetarian products.

“Words like ‘tofu steak’ or ‘vegetarian prosciutto’… reveal an inappropriate phenomenon of using labels traditionally associated with meat to sell products containing plant-based proteins,” the report said. Financial Times reported the bill being read.

The new cultural war in Italy

“We are the first country to ban it, to the great dismay of multinational companies who hoped to make monstrous profits, endangering the employment and health of citizens,” said Francesco Lollobrigida, Minister of Food Sovereignty and Agriculture. agriculture, in a message on Facebook.

Grown in the laboratory meat enables the production of food from animal cells, eliminating the environmental and ethical concerns associated with livestock.

Italy’s decision to ban the products was welcomed by Italian agricultural groups, keen to protect the country’s 9.3 billion euros ($10.1 billion). meat processing industry. Coldiretti, Italy’s largest farmers’ association, warned that allowing lab-grown meat would herald the rise of multinational corporations at the expense of local Italian producers.

“We are proud to be the first country which, although in favor of research, preventively blocks the sale of foods produced in laboratories, the effects of which on the health of consumers are currently unknown”, Ettore Prandini, president of Coldiretti, said in a Facebook post.

While there is an obvious economic motivation behind Italy’s protection of the meat industry, it also reflects a larger cultural war waged by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and her right-wing Brotherhood of Italy party. .

Talk to PolicyLollobrigida, who is also Meloni’s brother-in-law, presented the move as a measure to protect Italy’s salami and prosciutto production heritage.

“If you produce food that has no connection with people, land, work, you can move production to a place with lower taxes and environmental standards, which will harm jobs and to the environment,” Lollobrigida said.

Meloni has turned his attention to Italy’s other cultural institutions, including the arts and media, since becoming prime minister in October last year. She was accused from trying to oust left-wing museum leaders to install people who support his ideology.

She also plays a personal role in shaping future cultural production.

Meloni plans to open a the Lord of the Rings exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of author JRR Tolkein, The Republic reported. The story was appropriated by the Italian right in the 1970s, seen as a fight against financial elites.

The culture ministry spent €250,000 ($271,000) on the exhibition, an official said Policy.

“The battle is now moving to Europe”

Italy’s decision to ban fake meat departs from more liberal guidelines on artificial meat in other countries, including the United States. In June, the country’s Ministry of Agriculture sign on the sale of chickens made from animal cells.

Other European countries are slowly moving toward expanding lab-grown meat, which according to a prediction is estimated to be worth nearly $2 billion by 2035. The Netherlands has become the first country in Europe to approve taste testing of cultured meat in July.

However, the Italian government has the ambition that its protectionist approach can extend to the entire continent.

“Italy, a world leader in food quality and safety, has a duty to lead the way in policies to protect the health of citizens.” Pradini from Cooldirett told Policy. “The battle now shifts to Europe.”

Even if Italy can prevent companies from producing artificial meat in its country, it faces a tougher time regulating its sale in the country. Italy is part of the European Union’s single market and customs union, guaranteeing the free movement of goods and services across

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