Could kosher bacon soon be a possibility? In the new age of clean meat, Rabbi Gavriel Price of the Orthodox Union (OU), the organization responsible for the “Ⓤ” kosher certification on food, is considering the question.
The New York Times reports that Rabbi Price was given the task of determining whether or not cell-based meat, or real meat grown without the animal, would be permitted under kosher law, which prohibits pork and the mixture of meat and dairy. A small handful of clean meat startups expect to debut a limited amount of market-ready products by the end of the year, and they want to be ready with a “kosher” label before launching.
Rabbi Price’s first stop was to Mission Barns, a Berkeley-based cellular agriculture startup that is developing clean duck, chicken, and pork fat. There, he inspected duck cells through a microscope and asked employees about what clean meat is, where it comes from, and how it’s made. “I’d like to spend more time, because I think it’s an important process to understand in a deep way, and there’s no precedent for it really,” Rabbi Price concluded.
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is clean meat kosher?
This is not the first time that the Orthodox community has explored the potential of kosher clean meat. Last March, Rabbi Yuval Chewlow of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization said: “[Clean pork] loses its original identity [genetic material] and therefore cannot be defined as forbidden for consumption.”
Clean meat is not yet available on the market and only a handful of journalists and investors have tried it. However, those who have sampled this slaughter-free meat have found it identical to real meat in taste, texture, and cellular structure. To some, like Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the kosher division at OU, the question of whether or not cell-based pork should be treated any differently than traditional pork is clear. “Stem cells from a pig, that would not be kosher,” he told Quartz last January.
Not everyone agrees with his line of thinking, though. In 2016, speaking to Israeli clean meat startup SuperMeat, Orthodox Rabbi Shlomo Aviner explained how he believes the kosher status should be determined. “The question is this: do we rule according to the process or do we rule according to the result? If we rule according to the result, it appears just like ordinary meat. But if we rule according to the process, and the process is nothing like the usual process of how animals are raised and meat is produced, then it can be parve.”
“Parve” is a term in Jewish dietary law that refers to foods that are neither meat nor dairy. If a food is parve, Rabbis Dov Lior and Yuval Sharlo explained in the video, it is kosher.
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