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Italy’s rightwing government has approved a draft law that would ban domestic production of lab-grown meat as it seeks to protect the country’s traditional culinary heritage and powerful agribusiness interests.

The draft law, which must still be approved by parliament before it can take effect, prohibits the cultivation of meat from cells in Italy, though it said it would not restrict imports of lab-grown meat produced elsewhere in Europe.

Italy’s minister of agriculture and food sovereignty, Francesco Lollobrigida, said the prohibition was needed to “guarantee quality, well being and the protection of our culture, our tradition”. Violators face the prospect of fines of up to €65,000 and the potential shutdown of their factories.

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