The Italian Chamber of Deputies has this week passed a law banning the use of meat-related names, such as ‘salami’ or ‘steak’ for plant-based products.
The new ban also prohibits the production and marketing of cell-based meat. In a statement, the Good Food Institute (GFI) said that the bill, which introduces fines between €10,000 and €60,000 for each violation, will “cut the country off from innovation and block sustainable development”.
It warns that the move will reduce investment, push Italian researchers abroad and hinder the fight against climate change while other European countries are investing in the cell-based and plant-based sectors.
The move to ban meat-related terms on the labelling of plant-based products will directly affect Italian companies that make plant-based meat. Industry research indicates Italy as the third-largest European market for plant-based products, with sales surging 21% to exceed €600 million between 2020 and 2022.
Francesca Gallelli, public affairs consultant at the GFI Europe, commented: “Eliminating the possibility of using familiar terms to facilitate product recognition undermines transparency, generating confusion for consumers where none currently exists, as demonstrated by surveys”.
A survey of Italian consumers revealed that 75% believe that it is necessary to reduce the consumption of conventional meat. Furthermore, 55% are interested in buying cell-based meat.
The Italian Alliance for Complementary Proteins, which brings together industry companies, researchers and non-profit associations, said: “This bill tells Italians what they can and cannot eat, stifles innovation, and likely violates EU law”.
“Once famous for pioneering world-changing innovations like radio, microchips, batteries, performance automobiles and ground-breaking fashion – Italian politicians are now choosing to go backwards while the rest of the world moves forward.”
In the UK, the government has earmarked £12 million for alternative proteins, while the Danish government recently presented a national plan to support the development and uptake of plant-based meat. In Catalonia, the federal government recently invested €7 million in a research centre that will help companies scale up the production of plant-based meat and fermentation.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023
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