ITALY – The Italian government has decided to withdraw from the European Union’s scrutiny process regarding its proposal to ban the sale of cultivated meat in the country.

Italy had previously submitted a Technical Regulations Information System (TRIS) notification to the EU, a procedure designed to prevent trade barriers within EU countries.

The notice was made to enforce a bill to ban the sale of cultivated food and animal feed, which was initially proposed in March.

In response to this withdrawal, Minister of Agriculture Francesco Lollobrigida, in a statement on his Facebook page, explained that the notification had been withdrawn as a sign of respect for the ongoing work within the Italian government.

However, he also noted that the withdrawal from the EU process may not signify the end of Italy’s plan to ban the sale of cultivated meat.

Lollobrigida mentioned that the bill, known as the DDL (an initial phase of a law proposed by one or more members of parliament), had already received approval in the Senate and had recently been approved by the Commission of the Chamber of Deputies.

“The DDL [the initial phase of a law that is proposed by one or more members of parliament] has already been given the green light in the senate, it has just been approved in the commission of the chamber of deputies and will soon be discussed and, I believe, approved by the chamber of deputies,” he said.

He anticipated that it would soon be discussed and approved by the Chamber of Deputies referring to the withdrawal of the TRIS notification as “only a matter of form.”

Despite this withdrawal, Lollobrigida emphasized that the bill had been approved, dismissing reports about the withdrawal as “false.”

Italy approved the bill earlier in the year, effectively banning the production of food or feed “from cell cultures or tissues derived from vertebrate animals” in the country. Violating these rules could result in fines of up to US$65,022.

In his Facebook post, Lollobrigida also expressed his commitment to following the recommendations of municipalities, regions, and the millions of Italian citizens who have called for measures to protect public health and the economy.

Francesca Gallelli, an Italian policy consultant at the Good Food Institute, a global food system think tank, expressed hope that Italy’s withdrawal from the European examination process suggests the government’s willingness to modify the bill to ensure compliance with EU law.

“We hope that the step backwards on the European examination indicates the government’s willingness to modify the text of the bill on cultured meat, guaranteeing compliance with Union law,” she said.

Only a week ago, however, the parliamentary majority rejected all the changes to the text in the House Commission, including those that intended to harmonise the bill with European legislation, resolving its numerous and important critical issues.”

Additionally, Gallelli emphasized the need for Parliament to consider the broader implications of the proposed law on cultivated meat.