Austrian Agriculture Officials to Use Negative Survey Results to Advocate Against Cultivated Meat – vegconomist

Austrian Agriculture Officials to Use Negative Survey Results to Advocate Against Cultivated Meat – vegconomist

A study commissioned by Austria’s Chamber of Agriculture and Forestry in Carinthia (a southern region in the Alps and and least densely populated state), found that 90% of respondents are unwilling to eat cultivated meat regularly, 72% expressed health risk concerns, and 82% even want to ban the technology.

The survey questioned over 800 people aged 16 and older, and, according to Deputy Governor Martin Gruber (ÖVP), participants were informed neutrally and objectively about the production process before being asked whether they would consume “lab-grown” meat.

“This vehement rejection is a confirmation of our fight against laboratory meat, plain and simple. It’s about preventing this fake meat on the EU market,” Gruber told local media.

Siegfried Huber, President of the Carinthia Chamber of Agriculture, said, “A few large corporations want to overtake our small agricultural structures. Three-quarters of the respondents also see domestic agriculture threatened by lab meat.”

© LK Kärnten/Wajand

“Protecting” farmers

In April, the chamber launched the petition “Laboratory meat? NO, THANK YOU!” to protect farmers, consumers, and the environment. The initiative, which received united support across all political groups within the chamber’s General Assembly, will be handed over to the next federal government in the autumn to promote a ban on cultivated meat, as Italy did. So far, 12,000 signatures have been collected, and the chamber plans to gather more signatures at upcoming culinary festivals and weekly markets.

Various prominent Carinthian personalities, such as physician and mountain farmer Dr. Georg Lexer, cookbook author and social media personality Catrin Ferrari-Brunnenfeld (Cooking Catrin), and Olympic champion and farmer Fritz Strobl, support the petition.

“We believe that there are many people in Carinthia who share our concerns and who are against the introduction of these products. That’s why we invite all Carinthians to sign,” says Huber.

Italy proposes a ban on cultivated meat
© Mosa Meat

Main concerns against the new tech

According to the chamber’s announcement, “lab-grown meat” could put domestic agriculture at risk by giving undue advantages to large corporations, potentially forcing small farms out of business. Additionally, the chamber points out concerns regarding the potential health risks of consuming cultivated meat, as studies on its health effects still need to be carried out.

Furthermore,  the politicians cite a UC Davis study that claims that cultivated meat would not be better for the environment than beef since it could emit more CO2. According to the GFI, this non-peer-reviewed study by UC Davis differs from the existing scientific literature.

It is worth noting that at this year’s revision of the regulatory approval framework for cultivated meat held in the EU council, Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, pointed out that the EU’s novel foods regulation guarantees the safeguarding of human health and consumer interests within its internal market.

Meanwhile, Alex Holst, senior policy manager at the Good Food Institute Europe, emphasized: “This non-binding statement (referring to arguments made by the EU coalition against cultivated meat) spreads misinformation about cultivated meat and undermines Europe’s world-leading regulatory system. Overhauling the gold standard Novel Foods regulatory process now is completely unnecessary, and risks preventing the EU from taking a leading role in this sector – just as the United States and China invest in cultivated meat to boost their economies and create future-proof jobs.”

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