Synthetic meat in Italy in 2023? The choice of the Meloni government

On 22 October, the day of the inauguration of the government chaired by Giorgia Meloni, the spotlights of the press and of all public opinion were focused on the prime minister and the ministers who would form the new executive. If the faces of centre-right representatives were more or less known previously, a more marked curiosity concerned theirs first statements on the sidelines of the oath which took place in the halls of the Quirinale in the presence of the Head of State.

In particular, the choices announced by the premier at the press conference regarding the new names given to some dicasteries. Among these, to raise bitter controversy was the one assigned to Francesco Lollobrigida, historic exponent and deputy of the Brothers of Italy, as well as brother-in-law of the same leader (he married her sister). For him, the Prime Minister had thought of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty: a wording that, right from the first reactions, was targeted both by the opposition parties and by many commentators on newspapers and talk shows.

Synthetic meat, the dossier on the table of the Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty

In these first two months of government activity, Francesco Lollobrigida he has remained more in the shadows than some of his government colleagues, decidedly more committed since the initial weeks: one above all Matteo Piantedosiowner of the Ministry of Interiorwho wrote the much-contested rave decree and in the last days of the year he issued the new one regulation for the rescue of migrants by NGOs.

Yet, beyond a few fleeting interviews that appeared in national newspapers and agency websites, even the Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty he has worked hard to show the citizens what approach will be given to the dossiers within his jurisdiction. In particular, his statement – ​​released in mid-November – regarding the so-called synthetic meatalso known by the epithet of cultured meat.

Synthetic meat, the decision of the Food and Drug Administration and the words of Minister Lollobrigida

“I guarantee that, as long as we are in government of the country, they will never reach Italian tables foods created artificially in the laboratory“. His words were disclosed as a result of a decision on the matter arrived directly from United Statesa measure that had provoked very mixed reactions at all latitudes of the globe.

In fact, a few moments earlier, the Food and Drug Administration (Fda) – the body that validates foods and drugs on American soil, the equivalent of ours European Medicines Agency – had just announced the decision to include synthetic meat in the list of food products considered safe for human consumption.

Thanks to the breakthrough made by the FDA, the company Upside Foodsbased in the state of California, will now be able to take live cells from chickens and use them in a controlled laboratory. The aim is to make them grow over time to arrive at the creation of a meat-based product that doesn’t involve the actual slaughter of any animal. A change that could contribute as never before to satisfy the growing global demand for meatdrastically reducing the environmental impact caused by intensive farming.

Synthetic meat, carried out to reduce the environmental impact of intensive farming: this is how much they consume in Italy

For this reason, the words of Minister Lollobrigida, which arrived in a timely manner in the hours directly following the news, seemed to many to be rash and lacking a preliminary study by the minister. In fact, if you were to observe the latest data released by Greenpeace with regard to our country, one would become aware of how the production of meat on a national scale represents the second cause of pollution in Italy. An impact on the environment far greater than that caused by cars and industries and lower only than the effects of heating homes through the use of fossil fuels, wood and pellets.

Specifically, the body that promotes climate protection initiatives has carried out a study – disclosed at the beginning of December 2019 – which highlights how the storage of animals in stables and the management of related wastewater contribute to over 15% to the total calculation of our polluting emissions. Below is the complete ranking with the latest available data, dating back to the period prior to the pandemic emergency from Covid-19:

  • Heating practiced with the use of fossil fuels, wood and pellets – 38%;
  • Intensive farming – 15.1%;
  • Industry and business – 11.1%;
  • Light vehicles such as cars and motorbikes – 9%;
  • Goods transported by road – 7%;
  • Agriculture – 6.7%;
  • Other types of transport – 5%;
  • Energy production – 4.3%;
  • Secondary activities, including fishing and waste disposal – 3.2%;
  • Other items of residual scope – 0.6%.

Synthetic meat, the first vegetable hamburger produced in Europe and the states where it is sold legally

Therefore, according to the words of the government representative, the practice for the production of synthetic meat it will not be implemented, at least for the period in which the current majority will remain at the helm of the country. A concept also reaffirmed by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Matthew Salvini, which in a recent street initiative carried out with Coldiretti categorically excluded the use of this food. The secretary of the League released the following statement: “As far as I’m concerned, I want our children to eat only what comes from our lands and comes from our animals. Therefore no formula milk or synthetic meat“.

Yet, even in Europe, studies of this kind are by no means new. Even the creation of the first “grown hamburger” dates back a good ten years ago, when a research team from the University of Maastricht created it in the laboratory during August 2013. And, to date, governments interested in investigating this aspect are multiplying, precisely in the wake of a greater collective sensitivity towards the fight against global warming. At the moment the only state in the world where vegetable meat is marketed legally is Singapore, but the green light from the US could push other countries to take this path. The only certain thing is that the long-awaited change of historic significance will not leave Italy.

Synthetic meat in Italy in 2023? The choice of the Meloni government