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Suppose tissue identical to that of a pig could be created synthetically (with kosher ingredients) in a science lab. The meat would be completely indistinguishable from pig meat, but it would never have actually been part of a real, live pig. Would this be kosher? If so, would it be meat or parve? If beef were created synthetically would it be meat or parve?

My guess would be that both would be kosher and technically parve, but rabbis would rule that it should not be eaten with dairy to avoid maris ayin. Possibly for the same reason, they would rule that the synthetic pork should not be eaten.

Has this been discussed anywhere?

Related: If a pig was genetically modified to chew its cud, would it be kosher?

EDIT:

I am referring to a completely synthetic process. For example, supposing the scientists figured out the chemical composition of the tissue and performed chemical reactions to fabricate it rather than growing it from some pre-existing animal cells.

Major edit:

See this link about using a 3-d printer to print edible meat.

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related? judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/11269/… –  Danno Aug 8 '12 at 16:02
    
It was discussed in my classroom when I was in high school and there was talk of cloning sheep. You mean has any conclusive Halachic decision been published anywhere? –  Seth J Aug 8 '12 at 16:19
    
@SethJ Not necessarily. Relevant sources are helpful, even if there is no conclusive decision. Also, cloning sheep is different from what I ask because it would require taking cells from an actual live (or dead) sheep and likely causing a new live sheep to be born. I'm talking about a completely synthetic process. –  Daniel Aug 8 '12 at 16:25
    
Right, I was just drawing on the fact that this was, in fact, discussed. Just not necessarily by anyone you care to hear from. –  Seth J Aug 8 '12 at 16:34
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@DoubleAA I'm talking about if they could create it without any basic cells including stem cells from actual animals. I don't mean grow the meat, I mean fabricate it. –  Daniel Aug 9 '12 at 13:04

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

There are four options here:

The "meat" is made from plant matter, arranged in the same shape as meat (proteins, fat, etc), but there are no animal cells. The "meat" is vegetarian.

The meat comes from animal cells, and the starting animal cell was not kosher. The meat is then not kosher, despite the huge bitul in the growth medium. This is because the starting cell is considered a Davar Hama'amid and is never batul.

The meat comes from a cell taken from a kosher animal that was shechted properly. According to Chullin 69a if a live fetus was found in a shechted mother the fetus can be eaten without shechting it again. The same would apply to a cell taken from a shechted cow: Any meat made from it is already considered shechted and can be eaten.

The meat comes from a cell taken from a kosher animal that was NOT shechted. I have no idea what the halacha is here. You can't shecht it - there is no complete animal to shecht.

I was thinking that perhaps the meat might be parve since it was not born from a living animal, but maybe not: The cell that started it came from a living animal, so that might be enough for it to not be parve.

PS. Once this meat is on the market an actual posek would have to rule. I am not a posek.

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see judaism.stackexchange.com/a/11280/603 –  Menachem Aug 16 '12 at 20:10

There already exists Kosher bacon bits which is made from all Kosher ingredients and has reliable Kosher supervision. It is marked as Parave. So I do not see why this would be any different.

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Because Kosher bacon bits have the taste as bacon, but not the same chemical composition as bacon. –  Daniel Aug 8 '12 at 16:37
    
It's not the chemical composition, the proposal is to grow actual pig cells. –  Ariel Aug 8 '12 at 19:51
    
@Ariel: No it isn't. The proposal is to fabricate pig cells in a lab without growing them from stem cells. –  Daniel Aug 9 '12 at 15:59
    
@Daniel How would you do that? Actually I can tell you: it's not possible for us to fabricate pig cells from scratch. As of right now only Hashem can do that. –  Ariel Aug 9 '12 at 20:33
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@Ariel "Not possible" and "as of right now" are two very different things. I don't see how we could say that we'd never be able to do this; so I think that my question is valid. –  Daniel Aug 9 '12 at 21:52

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