Italy has banned the production and imports of cultured meat, with supporters arguing the move was necessary to protect agricultural livelihoods and preserve local culture and tradition.
The Italian parliament passed the law on Thursday, banning not only cultured or lab-grown meat products but also the use of meat-related words such as "steak" or "prosciutto" to describe plant-based products.
Violations of the law could see fines handed out as high as AUD $100,000.
In a Facebook post, agriculture minister Francesco Lollobrigida described the ban as a "brave measure", which millions of citizens had been calling for.
"With this government there will never be synthetic food on Italians' tables," Mr Lollobrigida said.
"[This law] puts Italy at the vanguard of the world.
"We are the first country to ban it, with all due respect to the multinationals who were hoping to make monstrous profits by putting citizens' jobs and health at risk."
Italy's right-wing government put the bill forward earlier this year, following decrees which banned the use of insect flour in pizza and pasta, as well as a petition signed by half a million people to protect natural food.
Coldiretti, the country's largest association representing the agricultural sector, had lobbied for the change over concerns the cultured meat industry could threaten the economic future of Italian farmers.
Coldiretti national president Ettore Prandini wrote on Facebook they had achieved "a great victory".
"We are proud to be the first country that, despite being in favour of research, prevents, as a precautionary measure, the sale of laboratory-produced food whose effects on consumer health are currently unknown.
"It's a result that aligns with our view to defend the work of our farmers and our businesses, and of course our traditional food and our Made in Italy [products]."
Only Singapore and the United States have currently approved lab-grown meat products for human consumption, but any move by the European Union to follow suit could open the way for challenges to Italy's ruling because of the EU's single market doctrine.
Scientific and environmental groups have also criticised the law, arguing it would set back sustainability and shut Italy out from future discussions around research and investment.
Good Food Institute Europe public affairs consultant Francesca Gallelli said the law was at odds with the consumers' rights to choose what they eat.
"The debate surrounding cultivated meat in Italy has been fueled by misinformation, as hearings in the Senate intentionally excluded cultivated meat companies and supporters while allowing false claims from opponents of this sustainable food," Ms Gallelli said.
"We welcome the intention of the government to submit the law to the EU scrutiny and we hope member states can voice their concerns regarding its potential violation of the single market."
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