Italy has become the first country in the European Union to ban the production and sale of meat created in a laboratory from animal tissue cells. This move was approved by the lower house of the Italian parliament on Thursday, with the Senate also supporting it. The government believes that this measure is necessary to protect public health and support Italian livestock farmers.
Cultured meat is seen as a possible alternative to traditional meat production methods. Livestock farming is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, and some people have ethical concerns about industrial livestock farming. While cultured meat is currently legal for sale in Singapore and the United States, it has not yet been approved for sale within the EU, although several European companies have invested funds into researching it.
The EU considers cultured meat to be a “novel food” and requires any company seeking to sell it in Europe to obtain a permit. Cultured meat advocates argue that it could help reduce environmental impact and address animal welfare concerns, but critics say that more research is needed before it can be considered safe for consumption.
Italian Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida has expressed his satisfaction with the ban’s approval, stating that cultured meat disrupts “the virtuous relationship between humans and nature.” Animal rights organizations in Italy are calling this a meaningless measure.