What will be the halachic status of meatless meat?

Will meatless meat be considered pareve? Which questions are central in the discussion? Arutz Sheva speaks with CEO, rabbi, of Aleph Farms.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Angus steak
Angus steak
iStock

Aleph Farms CEO Didier Toubia, present along with Arutz Sheva at the Gathering of the Conference of European Rabbis in Antwer, Belguim, said he believes "meatless meat" will be considered meaty, and not pareve, when it finally becomes available.

The idea relies on the natural process occurring inside the animal, same as inside our own human bodies, for regenerating tissues 24/7. Our tissues do regenerate based on some cells which are able to grow new tissue all the time. We isolate those same cells and we produce outside of the animal optimal conditions for them to continue to grow and build muscle tissue, which is meat, under controlled conditions.

Rabbi Joel Kenigsberg, Aleph Farms' halachic (Jewish law) consultant, answered the popular question of whether meatless meat will be considered pareve, and therefore able to be eaten and cooked with dairy, or meat.

"I think it's going to be meat," he confirmed. "The idea is that it's going to have the same taste, it's going to have the same appearance, it's going to be meat, just not grown in the conventional way up till now, which is inside the animal, but inside the lab."

"The biggest question is really the source of the cells. What we're dealing with is stem cells, which are taken from a cow, and which multiply and are grown in the lab. And the question is if the cells keep the same status of when they're in the animal when they're out of the animal."

He added that due to the prohibition of eating meat from a live animal, the cow would have to be ritually slaughtered first, to allow the stem cells taken from it to produce kosher meat.

Toubia emphasized that he believes meatless meat will be a "real revolution," noting that it saves water, land, and prevents animals suffering.

He also noted that meatless meat will "drastically reduce the amount of antibiotics used to produce meat" - crucial since hundreds of people die every year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria, something strongly connected to the amount of antibiotics used in animal farming.

"It's incredible, the Torah is a Torah of life, and it's living, it's alive, and it's got relevance for every realm of life and everything that we can think of," Rabbi Keningsberg said. "Even though it's ancient, there's nothing in the world that's beyond the real of Torah and halacha, and it's just amazing to see how these ancient principles from the Talmud get brought out into expression today, in this modern technology."




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