Meat & Livestock News

European Commission Challenges Italy’s Cultivated Meat Ban


  • The European Commission found Italy’s ban on cultivated meat and restrictions on plant-based product labelling to breach EU policies.
  • Italy passed the law without offering other EU member states the standard three-month comment period, making the law unenforceable in court.
  • The Commission has invited Italy to follow the proper procedure, with potential consequences for non-compliance including formal warnings or financial sanctions.

The European Commission has concluded its examination of Italy’s legislation that prohibits the production and marketing of cultivated meat, as well as the use of “meaty” descriptors for plant-based alternatives. The Commission determined that by enacting this law, Italy has contravened European Union guidelines.

According to the Commission, Italy implemented the law without providing other EU member states the customary three-month period to review and comment on the proposed regulations, a step mandated by EU policy. This oversight implies that while the law may remain in place, its enforceability in a legal context is compromised.

The Commission has now extended an invitation to Italy to engage in the three-month standstill process, allowing for feedback from other EU nations on whether the law might impede the rules governing the European single market.

Ignoring the Commission’s request could lead Italy to face formal admonitions, financial penalties, or even referral to the European Court of Justice.

Francesca Gallelli of the Good Food Institute Europe urges the Italian government to reconsider its stance, highlighting a recent request by Italy for the European Commission to conduct transparent, evidence-based consultations on cultivated meat. With the law’s enforceability now in question, Gallelli advocates for a fair and balanced discussion within Italy before any bans on cultivated meat.

Contrary to the Commission’s findings, Italian Minister of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry, Francesco Lollobrigida, has interpreted the Commission’s note as a closure of the review process, asserting that it confirms the law’s compatibility with EU principles.

Speaking in the Senate, Lollobrigida claimed that the European Commission has concluded its review without initiating any infringement procedures against Italy, merely requesting updates on the law’s application by national judges.