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Cultured meat. Italian Farmers: European stop follows US flop

Coldiretti's president: "Laboratory products should be equated with drugs, not foods"

The stop by most European Union countries is consistent with the fact that the EU has already decided to ban foods produced from cloned animals and for over 40 years meat treated with hormones which are instead used in bioreactors for production of artificial foods for which we ask not to use the term "cultured meat", also considered misleading by the FAO/WHO report which suggests calling them "cell-based foods". This is what Coldiretti states in expressing appreciation for the document of the Austrian, French and Italian delegations but also supported among others by the Spanish, Czech, Cypriot, Greek, Hungarian, Luxembourg, Lithuanian, Maltese, Romanian, Slovak delegations, presented to the Council European "Agriculture and Fisheries" meeting of 23 January 2024.

“Before any authorization, the supporting countries ask the Commission – underlines Coldiretti, the main italian associations of direct farmers – to launch a public consultation on cell-based foods” which “can never be called meat” and raise “ethical, economic, social and environmental questions, as well as on nutritional and health safety" calling into question the current regulatory framework which is inadequate also because these new practices include the production of food using stem cell technology with the need to avoid risks to the health of consumers.

The presentation of the document - continues Coldiretti - follows the flop recorded by cell-based foods in the United States where the technological magazine of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston included them among the biggest scientific failures of the year as , despite the green light for marketing obtained from the US authorities, there would still be no trace of laboratory products in supermarkets and large-scale production would be more problematic than expected. In particular, various journalistic investigations, starting from those of the Wall Street Journal, highlighted that Upside Food used a lot of manpower, plastic and energy to produce very few chicken filaments. And it is no coincidence that in the State of Arizona - reports Coldiretti - a bill was presented at state level at the beginning of January to prohibit the sale and production of animal products starting from cell culture neither for human consumption nor for the animal one.

The alliance born in Europe takes on board the concerns first raised by Coldiretti and confirms Italy's role as a trailblazer, which is a world leader in food quality and safety, in policies to protect citizens' health", commented the president of Coldiretti Ettore Prandini in expressing appreciation for the protagonism at community level of the Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty Francesco Lollobrigida . After Italy where a law was approved under the pressure of the collection of over 2 million signatures by Coldiretti, the position taken by a growing number of countries is a response, Prandini specifies, to the need to have analysis of unambiguous impact on the part of public research and avoid turning citizens into human guinea pigs, as we were the first to ask for. The growing distrust in fact confirms the need to respect the precautionary principle in the face of a new technology with many unknowns which risks changing people's lives and the environment that surrounds us", continues Prandini in underlining that "precisely for this reason the challenge that Coldiretti launches to the European institutions is that laboratory products in the authorization processes are not equated with food but rather with pharmaceutical products". These new practices – it is specified – include the production of food using stem cell technology with the need to avoid risks to the health of consumers.

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EFA News - European Food Agency