Synthetic foods, Lollobrigida ad: “Italy is the first to ban them”

No to “synthetic” food. The Government’s bill arrives at the Chamber to prohibit the consumption of “in vitro meat”. Approved by the Senate last July (with the votes of the majority parties and Itália Viva), the text was published by the Council of Ministers with the aim of “guaranteeing the protection of human health and the interests of citizens, as well as preserving agriculture – food heritage, as a set of products that express the process of socio-economic and cultural evolution of Italy, of strategic relevance for the national interest”. With the green light from Montecitorio, Italy will therefore be the first nation in the world to ban – as a precaution – the trade, import and production of milk, meat and fish produced in laboratories. Final approval is expected next week.

Promoted by the Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty Francesco Lollobrigida, together with the Minister of Health Orazio Schillaci, the bill prohibits the production, placing on the market and import into Italy of artificial food and feed in 7 articles. This does not impede the search. So end the use of “misleading and deceptive” names for foods derived from plant proteins, such as “soy steak”. «We are not reactionary, but we are conservative – said Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida speaking yesterday in the Chamber -. A conservative is someone who does not reject innovation, but knows how to link it to values.” «We don’t think it’s right to give food to everyone: good food should be given to everyone – he added -. Italy’s choice is clear and coherent and is to be a country free from synthetic meat. If someone produces synthetic lobster, we will evaluate it. Now, the risk we wanted to address comes from vertebrates.” But the Minister of Agriculture also highlighted the inconsistency of some opposition parties: «I have heard here in the Chamber many parties remember different statements from those made when they were in the majority. For example, the 5 Star Movement expressed different positions than former minister Stefano Patuanelli, who signed a petition calling for a ban on the production of synthetic meat.” «Even colleagues from Action – he continued – expressed different positions from their leader Calenda who signed the petition, as well as from Elena Bonetti. And so the Democratic Party with Maurizio Martina, who is director of the FAO, signed the petition.”

The bill introduces a series of prohibitions relating to the production and marketing of processed products containing vegetable proteins. In practice, terms such as “vegetable mortadella” or “soy steak and hamburger” are prohibited. The use of legal, customary and descriptive names referring to meat, meat products or products obtained predominantly from meat is prohibited; references to animal species or groups of animal species or to animal morphology or anatomy; specific terminologies for butchery, delicatessen or fishmongers; names of foods of animal origin representing commercial uses. The provisions do not prevent the addition of vegetable proteins, flavors or ingredients to products of animal origin. Food and feed sector operators who violate the rules will be subject to an administrative financial penalty ranging from a minimum of 10,000 euros to a maximum of 60,000 euros or 10 percent of the total annual turnover achieved in the last financial year ended before the violation was found, when this value exceeds 60,000 euros. However, the maximum fine cannot exceed 150 thousand euros.

Source: IL Tempo