Italy bans cultivated meat to protect local industry

Italy is banning meat grown from cells and making it illegal to market plant-grown alternatives with meaty words such as steak and salami. Not every growth industry is welcome in Bel Paese.

'In defence of health, of the Italian production system, of thousands of jobs, of our culture and tradition, with the law approved today, Italy is the first nation in the world to be safe from the social and economic risks of synthetic food,' Italy's minister of agriculture, Francesco Lollobrigida, announced on Facebook on 16 November. The measure also prohibits the use of meat-related terms, like 'salami' or 'steak', for plant-based meat substitutes.

Cultivated meat, or "shmeat" as it has been mouthwateringly referred to, is gearing up for mass production. It has faced production hurdles, and plant-based alternatives may have already saturated the market for cruelty-free foods. I doubt the Italian economy will issue enough €10,000-€60,000 fines to shore up its farmers.