The future of Italy’s cultivated meat ban

In November last year, the government of Italy announced its intention to ban​ the production of cultivated meat, alongside the use of ‘meaty’ names on plant-based foods (introducing a charge of €60,000 for each violation). While many condemned the decision, Italy maintained that the ban was necessary to protect the quality of its food.

However, because Italy did not complete a TRIS procedure, parts of the law may not be enforceable.

Italy’s issue with cultivated meat

Italy’s intention to ban cultivated meat comes mainly from its belief​ in the need to protect the ‘quality’ of its food, according to Aurora Russi, Head of Press and Culture at the Italian Embassy in London. Cultivated meat, which it calls ‘synthetic food’, is not made in the traditional ways which, in the view of the Italian government, guarantees quality.

What is a TRIS procedure?

When a new law is introduced that could threaten the EU’s single market, it must initiate a Technical Regulations Information System (TRIS) procedure, through which each EU member state can make their objections known.

“TRIS is there since 1983 so that the Commission, other member states and third party stakeholders may review and evaluate the impact on the Internal market i.e. whether or not it does impact the free flow of goods,” Cristofer Eggers, partner at law firm Squire Patton Boggs, told FoodNavigator.

Italy passed its cultivated meat ban before going through the TRIS procedure, despite the presence of objections within the block, and thus the European Commission was forced to close the procedure.