In late March, Italy became one of the first countries to take a decisive stance on lab-grown meat. The proposed bill is clear: Italy seeks to ban lab-grown meat production, sale, and use.
If the bill is passed in Parliament, a violation of the law could result in a $65,000 fine.
Francesco Lollobrigida, Italy’s Minister for Agriculture and Food Sovereignty, said lab-grown foods “do not guarantee quality, well-being, and the protection of our culture, our tradition.”
The bill marks an unequivocal concern about lab-grown meat’s uncertainties and potential dangers. In contrast, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of lab-grown meat in November 2022.
What Is Lab-Grown Meat?
Akin to the push to create various versions of plant-based meat, scientists have been propelled to develop lab-grown meat to provide an alternative to conventionally raised meat.
To create meat, scientists combine animal cells from live animals with various nutrients like amino acids and carbohydrates. Then, under the right conditions, the cells replicate and produce “cultured meat.”
While this process sounds as straightforward as whipping up your favorite cookie recipe, producing lab-grown meat requires cutting-edge technology and exceptional scientific precision.
Dr. Greg Potter, a bioprocess and fermentation scientist, explained that the process could be compared to the technically demanding production of vaccines. “In cultured meat production, you need to grow large quantities of cells from terrestrial animals or seafood species in bioreactors, and the same thing is done in vaccine production,” he told The Epoch Times.
Dozens of food companies and biotech firms have invested billions into the research and development of lab-grown meat. So far, this ostensibly far-fetched idea of growing meat in a lab has been “proven by numerous groups around the world in the laboratory,” Potter said.
However, the feasibility of producing lab-grown meat to scale summons a significant challenge. “The growth media currently used has expensive inputs that need to be replaced with more economical options for commercial-scale production,” Potter explained.
According to one report, one kilogram of lab-grown meat is estimated to cost $8,500 to $36,000. In comparison, one kilogram of wholesale chicken costs $3.11 per kilogram.
Though this price comparison is beyond significant, for many food companies and financiers, lab-grown meat is still considered the future of food.
Read More – Lab-Grown Meat: A Promising Future Or Dystopian Fate?