New food and restaurant laws draw concern that preservation of culture negatively targets immigrants and minorities

Thousands, if not more, are dissenting a regional law passed this week that regulates how fast-food restaurants and takeout shops may sell the food they produce. The law, which applies to any food or bar establishment, says that selling anything other than what they themselves produce on site, is not allowed to be sold to customers.

Many who protested the law say that the measure is an anti-immigrant and anti-foreigner law disguised as food regulation, and that the law was aimed at fast-food restaurants run by immigrants.

The measure was approved Tuesday by the center-right majority, but was championed by the conservative Northern League, as a means to preserve the traditional identity of Italian cities. “In its original form the law was more racist — it was specifically geared to get kebab shops out of the city center,” said Giuseppe Civati, a regional lawmaker.

The idea of “gastronomic contamination” is a façade for racial, cultural, and ethnic contamination that is feared in Italy’s growing concerns with culture. Supporters of the law say that it finally regulates a sector that had existed in a confused legislative status for years.