The latest of more than 1.3 million products that the US-based Orthodox Union (OU) certifies as kosher is lab-grown “chicken,” which is produced by the Tel Aviv-based start-up, SuperMeat.
It is the first lab-grown “meat” product that the non-profit kosher agency is certifying.
“The OU is pleased to provide certification to a product that meets kosher standards while also leading innovation in food technology,” stated Rabbi Menachem Genack, the CEO of OU Kosher, in a press release.
Lab-grown chicken is grown from fertilised chicken egg stem cells and, as such, doesn’t come from a live animal, which would be prohibited under Jewish law.
“The product is currently the product of a laboratory. Ultimately, in order to produce the product at an industrial volume, the company plans to perform a process in which the cells are propagated in industrial sized bioreactors,” Genack told the Tazpit Press Service.
Given that the cells are taken during a “narrow zone of time” between when the egg is laid and blood spots—which would render the egg non-kosher — would appear, there is no concern about such spots, according to Genack.
The lab-grown chicken would be considered meat, he said.
“Through this process of cell division, the original miniscule sample obtained from the newly-laid egg becomes more substantive,” Genack explained. “Through additional technical processes, that substance can adopt a specific form and even assume the identity of specific types of cells, like a muscle cell.”
“In this way, one can produce something that resembles a chicken nugget, for example.”
Cultured meat also received its first stamp of Muslim approval this week. The California-based GOOD Meat announced yesterday that a group of Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia ruled that lab-grown meat can also be considered halal if production meets certain criteria.