Italian MPs have voted to back a law banning the production, sale or import of cultivated meat in defence of the nation's farmers and food heritage.
Supporters and opponents of the policy had gathered outside Palazzo Montecitorio - the Italian parliamentary building in Rome - ahead of last week's vote where ‘scuffles' then broke out between MPs and farmers.
Ettore Prandini, the leader of Coldiretti, an organisation which looks after the interests of 1.6 million farmers, was seen confronting two oppostion MPs from the More Europe party, calling them ‘criminals' as they carried placards condemning the vote as ‘anti-scientific and anti-Italian'.
Despite the heated debate, parliament backed the bill by 159 votes to 53. Should companies breach the law, they will face a fine of up to €60,000 (£52,000).
Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida, who had previously vowed to prevent ‘synthetic food' from reaching dining tables in Italy, hailed the decision and said: "Italy is the world's first country safe from the social and economic risks of synthetic food.
"We are safeguarding our food, our system of nutrition, by maintaining the relationship between food, land and human labour that we have enjoyed for millennia."
While the EU has not yet approved the production of cultivated meat, known as ‘novel foods' should it go on to do so, Italy's law could then be challenged by the EU Commission.
Farming Matters: Phil Latham - farmers are the target in an easy blame game
In the UK, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has commissioned a report looking into a post-Brexit revision of rules surrounding cultivated meat in order to benefit the climate.
The study, conducted by Deloitte, said that while ‘innovation' is moving at pace, it was important for the UK to balance environmental priorities, scientific developments and consumer interests with safety.
UK companies have so far received £28.55 million in investment into the lab-grown meat market, placing the UK behind only Israel, the Netherlands, Singapore and the US, where the FDA has declared that cultured meat is safe to eat.
Liz Webster, campaign leader at Save British Food, said there was no sense in banning lab grown meat
"Whether we like it or not, it is now a new food which will appeal to some. However, we need a sensible approach centred on determining with facts how this new food will impact public health, biodiversity and our environment. To date, research seems to be patchy and debate has been marginal and dominated by emotions of extreme vegans."