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Italy Bans Lab-Grown Meat, Becoming First Country Worldwide to Do So

Italy has made history as the first country in the world to prohibit the use, sale, import, and export of lab-grown food, including meat.

The bill was approved by the country’s Chamber of Deputies with a vote of 159 in favor and 53 against, following an earlier passage in the Italian Senate.

Italian Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida expressed on Facebook that the bill serves as a defense of health, the Italian production system, thousands of jobs, as well as the country’s culture and tradition.

Factories and other establishments that violate the new law could face fines of up to $162,700, lose the right to public funding for up to three years, and risk being shut down, as reported by Reuters.

The bill also prohibits the use of meat terms to sell plant-based meat alternatives, stating that words like ‘tofu steak’ or ‘veg prosciutto’ reveal an inappropriate phenomenon of using labels traditionally associated with meat to sell products with vegetable protein.

While the bill received support from Italian farmers and traditionalists, some opposed it, arguing that synthetic meats could help wean consumers off carbon-intensive traditional meat.

The Italian Complementary Protein Alliance, representing researchers and companies involved in synthetic meat and plant-based protein products, expressed concerns about the bill, stating that it excludes Italy from a new job-creating industry and blocks the country from selling more climate-friendly foods.

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