Israeli Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau ruled Wednesday afternoon that cultured meat is kosher, and is not considered to be meat in terms of Jewish law.
Cultured meat, also known as lab-grown meat, is made by feeding sugar, amino acids, vitamins and other nutrients to animal stem cells raised in bioreactors. The stem cells are collected from bovine embryos.
Rabbi Lau made the determination after visiting a Rehovot lab used in the production of cultured meat, finding that so long as the process for producing the cultured meat remains the same, such products are both kosher and technically are not considered to be meat, thus rendering them parve – a category of kosher food which is neither dairy nor meat.
However, Rabbi Lau conditioned the mixing of cultured meat with dairy products, writing that if the product is marketed as meat, rather than a meat-like substance, if it is cooked in the form of a meat dish or has a similar taste and smell during cooking, then it should not be treated as parve, but rather as meat.
Furthermore, cultured meat mixed with dairy products should never be advertised, as it could acclimate consumers to mixing meat with dairy.