Brussels, 28th March 2023: As the Italian Council of Ministers discusses a proposal to ban cellular agriculture products and deny Italian consumers additional sustainable protein choices, Cellular Agriculture Europe is speaking out with accurate information about the safety and environmental benefits of our products.
To enter the European Union (EU) market, food products must be authorised by the European Commission, after a thorough safety assessment by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Worldwide, this approval is considered to be a gold standard in food safety. Hence, the Italian proposal is unnecessary as Italian and European consumers can be sure that, once approved by the European Commission, cultivated products are safe. And as cultivated meat is being assessed by international risk assessment bodies in the EU, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Singapore Food Agency have given greenlights on the safety of cultivated product applications.
In the EU there is understanding about the need to transition to a sustainable and resilient food production and the opportunities presented by the integration of cellular agriculture with animal agriculture and current food systems1 . This ban could be damaging the economic opportunity for Italy and the EU to be at the forefront of this innovation, to contribute to strengthening Europe’s food self-sufficiency in the face of fragile supply chains, increased domestic and international supply constraints and its competitiveness in the global agri-food industry, which is one of its areas of excellence.
Finally, such a ban will reduce consumers’ ability to choose the food they want. Thanks to cultivated meat, dairy and seafood companies there will be new products on the market, allowing consumers who are concerned about animal welfare and the environmental impact of their food, to choose the product they wish.
This proposed ban contains misinformation and may only stymie efforts to make our agri-food systems more sustainable and deny Italian consumers complementary protein choices. Not only is that bad public policy, it is likely unconstitutional. The better path forward is to work with our companies and to support research on how these innovations can integrate with conventional agriculture to better achieve national climate and food security goals.
1 A recent peer-reviewed study by CE Delft found that cultivating meat from cells requires much less land compared to all conventional meats and has lower nitrogen-related emissions, due to much improved feed conversion. Please see Sinke, P., Swartz, E., Sanctorum, H. et al. Ex-ante life cycle assessment of commercial-scale cultivated meat production in 2030. Int J Life Cycle Assess (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11367-022-02128-8