Twelve countries against cultured meat: request for a moratorium from the EU

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An axis of 12 countries, led by Italy, France And Austriais ready to ask the European Union to carry out further investigations into the cultured meat before the EU Food Safety Authority or another community institution takes any decision on the matter. The request is contained in a note that the 12 have prepared in view of the EU Agriculture Council which is taking place today in Brussels, in which the head of the Italian ministry will also participate, Francesco Lollobrigida.

«Some new food production practices based on artificial cells grown in laboratories have emerged all over the world – we read in the text – however these practices represent a threat to primary agriculture-based approaches and genuine food production methods that are at the heart of the European agricultural model. The development of this new laboratory-grown food production raises many questions that need to be discussed in depth between Member States, the Commission, stakeholders and the general public.”

A public consultation on cultured meat

The document sent to the EU was drafted by the Italian, French and Austrian delegations and supported by those of the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Malta, Romania and Slovakia. L’Italy it was the first country in Europe to pass a law expressly banning the production and marketing of cultured meat. For its part, the European Commission he recalled that «no application for authorization has yet been received, pursuant to the legislation on novel foods. And if an application for authorization were to be submitted, it will be theEfsa to evaluate”, i.e. the European Food Safety Authority. However, the countries signing the document ask that, before any trade authorisation, the Commission launches a public consultation on laboratory-grown meat and conducts an impact assessment.

Coldiretti’s position

In Italy the Coldiretti, in support of the ban which was then approved by law, had in turn collected over two million signatures against cultured meat. Today the association is pushing for cells grown in the laboratory not to be considered a food but rather a pharmaceutical product, whose marketing authorization should therefore be assessed not by EFSA but by the European Medicines Agency (Emma). «The position taken by a growing number of countries – claims the president of Coldiretti, Ettore Prandini – it is a response to the need for unambiguous impact analyzes by public research. The growing distrust 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 around us.”

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