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Italian MPs have voted to back a law banning the production, sale or import of cultivated meat or animal feed, following lobbying by farmers’ groups, the BBC reported.

The new law was a victory for Italy’s agriculture minister Francesco Lollobrigida, who had vowed to prevent “synthetic food” from reaching dining tables in Italy, the 17 November report said.

The vote in parliament was met by rallies for and against the ban with a scuffle breaking out between farmers and some MPs at one point, the report said.

Despite the protests, parliament backed the bill by 159 votes to 53. Breaching the law would mean a fine of up to €60,000 (US$657,420).

The law bans synthetic foods produced from animal cells without killing the animal and prevents producers from using meat-related words on labels to describe plant-based protein, according to the report.

Critics claim there is nothing synthetic about lab-grown meat, as it is created by growing natural cells without genetic modification.

In addition, the law was also a blow for animal welfare groups, who had highlighted lab-made meat as a solution towards protecting the environment from carbon emissions, the report said.

BBC wrote that the law would have little immediate effect as cultivated meat had so far only been approved for human consumption in Singapore and the USA.

In Europe, lab-grown meat was considered a 'novel food', requiring a safety assessment by the European Food Safety Authority and authorisation by members states and the European Commission.