Scientists are developing means of growing artificial meat in a petri dish. Does such 'meat' have the halachic status of meat?
The article says that the this meat is created using stem cells from slaughtered animals:
Using stem cells harvested from leftover animal material from slaughterhouses, Post nurtures them with a feed concocted of sugars, amino acids, lipids, minerals and all other nutrients they need to grow in the right way.
When it comes to nullifying something forbidden that is mixed in with something permitted, there are several conditions that prevent nullification. On of them is called a Davar Hama'amed. From the Star-K's website:
A Davar Hama’amidis something that “creates” a particular product. A classic example of this is non-kosher animal rennet used to make cheese. Without the enzymatic reaction caused by the rennet, there would be no cheese. Hence, even if the milk is sixty times the rennet, the finished product is not kosher.
It is possible that these stem cells would be considered a Davar Hama'amed, since the whole concoction is dependent on the stem cells to exist. Since a Davar Hama'amed is never nullified, it doesn't matter how minute the stems cells are, they would still make the final product meat, and therefore subject to all the regulations thereof.
It would seem that the only way around this would be if the stem cells came from the bones of the animal (not the bone marrow). As described here, bones are not considered meat. However, I'm not sure stem cells can be extracted from bones, it is not listed as one of the sources of stem cells, here.
I remember the father of Rav of our shul was a Rav in Switzerland during the war and they had banned shechitah. They relied for meat on a herd of specially raised cows. These were cows that as calves were still in the mothers womb, when the mother was schected. They apparently managed to get a herd of these animals and their offspring that did not require schetiah. So I wonder if you started with meat from a schected animal is a similar issue would apply.
Rabbi Daniel Friedman, in an article entitle Pareve Meat (pp. 93-105), wrote a halachic analysis of this topic for the RJJ Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society some years ago (Number LIII from Pesach 5767, Spring 2007). His analysis points to 3 possible conclusions:
- Not Kosher
- Kosher - Meat
- Kosher - Pareve
Each of these successive conclusions requires an additional level of complication and dependency regarding the Halachic analysis and a willingness to rule to the lenient side of Machloket. Issues involved which he cites include: Chatzei Shiur, ChaNaN (Chaticha Naaseit Neveilah), Ein Mivatalin Issur L'Chatchila, Davar HaMaamid, and Marit Ayin.
I'll conclude by quoting his conclusion:
Pareve "meat" would have to be grown in a medium or culture, which one cannot automatically assume would be kosher. Consequently, the entire process would require kashruth certification. It is unclear whether kashruth authorities would eventually determine the finished product to be fleishig or pareve. However, even if it is considered pareve, one must be aware of potential marit ayin issues, at least until the product becomes widespread. More to the point, it is highly questionable if any reputable kashruth organization would even be willing to provide hashgacha for such a product, inasmuch as the entire product is based on numerous heterim.
That’s because meat produced through this process could be considered parve – neither meat nor dairy — according to Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union’s kosher division. Thus, under traditional Jewish law, the burger could be paired with dairy products.
Several key conditions would have to be met to create kosher, parve cultured beef. The tissue samples would have to come from an animal that had been slaughtered according to kosher rules, not from a biopsy from a live animal, Genack said.
The principle underlying this theory is much like the status of gelatin in Jewish law: Though it is derived from an animal, it is not meat (the OU certifies some bovine-derived gelatin as parve).
Genack noted another source for viewing cultured meat as parve: A 19th century Vilna-born scholar known as the Heshek Shlomo wrote that the meat of an animal conjured up in a magical incantation could be considered parve. It may not be too much of a stretch, then, to apply the same logic to modern genetic wizardry.
This Israelnationalnews article quotes Rabbi Yuval Cherlow who told Ynet
Cloned meat produced from a pig shall not be defined as prohibited for consumption – including with milk.
The INN article clarifies:
In the interview, Cherlow of the Tzohar Rabbinical Organization appears to be talking about meat that is grown artificially in a laboratory from the cells of a pig, rather than meat produced from a live pig whose genetic material comes from a cell from which the pig was cloned. However, the article does not quote him as making the distinction.