Imagine eating a strip of prosciutto or a slice of capocollo that was cultivated in a lab. Sounds a little strange, right? Well, to the Italian government, it’s downright criminal.
Driving the news: Italy has taken a full-blown stance against lab-grown meat products. The country has banned fake meat after one of Italy’s largest farming associations made the case that it poses a risk to Italy’s rich culinary cultural heritage and agricultural sector.
- Unlike pea protein patties from companies like Beyond Meat, lab-grown meat is actual meat made by artificially growing animal cells in bioreactors full of nutrients.
Why it matters: Lab-grown meat has been touted as a way to chow down on meat without killing animals, while also greatly reducing the massive carbon emissions associated with livestock farming. Italy’s ruling could set the tone for similar pushback in other countries.
- Canada, with its own powerful lobbies and proud carnivores, could be a tricky market to enter. However, Canadians have shown an increased interest in cultivated meat.
- The industry faces other acceptance and viability issues, like health concerns, tough scalability, and its own environmental impact, as it requires huge amounts of energy.
What’s next: Singapore and the U.S. are the only countries that have approved lab-grown meat products for the public. Several companies, like SCiFi Foods and The Better Butchers, want to introduce it to Canada, but receiving Health Canada approval is a ways away.—QH