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Italy still full-speed ahead on banning 'synthetic' food products

November 7, 2023

Despite an apparent recent backtrack on its cultivated meat stance, Italy will ban synthetic food products, becoming the first country in the world to have made such a step, as announced by Italy’s Minister of Agriculture Francesco Lollobrigida at an event in Ireland at the weekend organized by European Conservatives and Reformists faction (ECR).

The event, Traditions and Innovation: A Conservative Future for European Farmers, was attended by European Union Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski, and gathered leading conservative politicians to discuss problems and opportunities provided by European regulations and cooperation in livestock, agriculture and the green economy. Lollobrigida and Wojciechowski participated in the event remotely.

“Italy will be the first country that will drop synthetic food products," said Lollobrigida, who represents Italy’s national-conservative party Fratelli d’Italia. "We want to create an example on how to regulate this.”

The minister explained his position in more depth: “We have chosen the principle of caution. The quality of food is important, and we cannot agree for society to be divided into two parts and that quality food products to be produced only for the rich elites. We are confident everyone should be able to eat well.”

Wojciechowski, who represents Polish national-conservative party Law and Justice, did largely support Lollobrigida’s position. “As commissioner, I support traditional agriculture. I defend natural products very strongly. The labeling system is not up to me, but I’m trying to defend traditions.”

“Synthetic meat is not meat, synthetic milk is not milk. I defend natural products, and using the name of a natural product for synthetic products, I believe, is a step in the wrong direction,” he added, noting that the European Commission provides more than €6 billion toward support of animal welfare and traditional agriculture.

However, the agriculture model initiated by conservatives is contrary to the model adopted by the EU, which, according to Fratelli d’Italia, is too bureaucratic and cannot resolve new problems that affect the continent.

“Farmers, livestock farmers and fishermen risk paying a high price for ideological nonsense that is behind the European Union’s 'green course', which punishes producers with emission-reduction objectives, which can only lead to a reduction of food production,” explained MEP Carlo Fidanza, who is in charge of Fratelli d’Italia group in the European Parliament.

“Lower food production in the medium-term will be replaced only with greater imports from countries that do not meet our longevity and quality standards, or with laboratory products we cannot be sure about,” Fidanza added.

To change the system, ECR needs good results in EU elections in June 2024 and find allies to form an alternative majority for the left in the European Parliament.

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