Truth, Inspiration, Hope.

Italy Bans Synthetic Meat, Fish, and Dairy to ‘Protect Our Culture and Our Tradition’

The move comes just a day after Europe publicized an Australian firm making a meatball out of wooly mammoth DNA spliced with elephant DNA and grown in the stem cells of a sheep.
Neil Campbell
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: March 30, 2023
Italy has banned synthetic meat, dairy, and fish to protect farmers and its culinary and wine industry heritages.
A file photo of Singaporeans eating lab-grown chicken nuggets, which were made legal, in December of 2020. To the contrary, Italy has banned synthetic meat, fish, and dairy in order to protect its rich and longstanding culinary culture. (Image: NICHOLAS YEO/AFP via Getty Images)

Italy’s government is pushing legislation to ban laboratory-grown meat in order to protect the country’s legendary food culture and heritage.

BBC complained about the developments in March 29 reporting as it stated that Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, Francesco Lollobrigida, had announced the measures, which will be enforced by €60,000 (US$65,000) fines.

Same day reporting by The Guardian states that importers, exporters, and producers will also face government-ordered closure if found to violate the rules.

The BBC says that the legislation is praised by Italy’s agriculture industry, which has gathered more than a half million signatures for a petition to protect “natural food,” and loathed by animal rights activists who claim that lab grown meat will protect animals and save the world from the carbon climate change narrative.


Lollobrigida stated, “Laboratory products, in our opinion, do not guarantee quality, wellbeing and the protection of our culture, our tradition,” adding that the motivation was to “protect our culture and our tradition, including food and wine,” according to The Guardian.

The ban will apply to not only synthetic animal cells, but synthetic fish and milk, the outlet states.

A March 29 tweet by Lollobrigida on the legislation characterized it as a win for the Meloni government as “a strong stance in favor of the many traditional producers, besieged by a few increasingly unscrupulous multinationals.”

The Guardian cited Health Minister Orazio Schillaci as telling the press, “[Because] there are no scientific studies yet on the effects of synthetic foods. We want to safeguard our nation’s heritage and our agriculture based on the Mediterranean diet.”

The leader of a small left-wing party quoted by the outlet claimed that laboratory grown animal cells replacing the thousands-of-years-old human hunting and farming practices and industries is “a technology that could allow us to pollute and kill less.”

A food policy NGO quoted by The Guardian said Italy was “a complete outlier” in Europe on the issue, claiming further that “other governments are eager to unlock some of the benefits of cultivated meat and are therefore being supportive.”

Just one day prior to Italy’s move, an Australian company was publicized by The Guardian and other network media outlets as having created a laboratory-grown meatball using DNA obtained from the extinct wooly mammoth species.

The CEO of the company told The Guardian that the goal of his business was nudging behavioral changes in an attempt to change the human living condition wherein people eat meat.

“The goal is to transition a few billion meat eaters away from eating [conventional] animal protein to eating things that can be produced in electrified systems,” he said, adding, “We have a behaviour change problem when it comes to meat consumption.”

They added, “And we believe the best way to do that is to invent meat. We look for cells that are easy to grow, really tasty and nutritious, and then mix and match those cells to create really tasty meat.”

A co-founder for the company that the wooly mammoth was chosen because the lost animal is “a symbol of diversity loss and a symbol of climate change.”

The article says that the company worked with the Australian Institute for Bioengineering at the University of Queensland to create the genetic material needed to make the substance by using “the DNA sequence for mammoth myoglobin, a key muscle protein in giving meat its flavour, and fill[ing] in the few gaps using elephant DNA.”

The DNA was then grown inside of stem cells harvested from sheep. They said the process only took a few weeks.

A scientist for the institute stated that nobody dares to eat the biomatter because “we have no idea how our immune system would react when we eat it.”

Earlier in the month, both Hungary and Italy also put strict restrictions on products using insects in place of agricultural flour.

Hungary requires such products to be displayed separately in stores and to have packages clearly and unambiguously marked, according to Hungarian media outlet Origo.

Minister of Agriculture István Nagy was paraphrased as stating, “Those for whom it is important to buy food of Hungarian origin do not want to eat insects.” 

Nagy added, “In addition, Hungarian farmers always provide the Hungarian population with high-quality raw materials, fresh and high-quality food, and we do not need to fear food or protein shortages.”

Lollobrigida was quoted by The Times on March 24 as stating on the country’s similar regulations, “It’s fundamental that these flours are not confused with food made in Italy.”

“Those who want to choose crickets, larvae and locusts can go there and those who don’t want to, as I imagine most Italians, can keep away,” the Minister added.