Religious scholars are being confronted with a new, intriguing dilemma: how does so called “clean meat” (high-tech cell cultured meat) fit in the religious diet of a Muslim or a Jew? Clean meat products don’t rely on raising and slaughtering chickens, cows, and pigs but rather need only a handful of animal cells. They then take those cells, put them in a nutrient-dense liquid medium in a bioreactor, where they grow and proliferate. The scientists behind the resulting product say it’s identical to conventional meat on a molecular level (according to Quartz).
“We have a long way to go with this,” says Saad-Jalloh, an imam at the Islamic Cultural Center of New York. “I believe there are many things to talk about and to look for. I believe practicing Muslims would stay away from this meat for a period of time.”
Aly Ghanim, the quality manager for the USA Halal Chamber of Commerce, has similar concerns. “Part of the halal process is the animal has to be slaughtered properly, so when you take that aspect away it kind of makes it more difficult to decipher.”
Bruce Friedrich of The Good Food Institute is actively working to convince observant Muslims and Jews that clean meat does have a place in ones religious diets. He claims that “clean meat” is neutral as it isn’t technically meat. “There is a religious definition of meat and then there is a scientific definition of meat, and in a religious context meat is defined by the slaughter of the animal,” says Mr. Friedrich. “If there is no slaughter of the animal then the product is not up for the kosher or halal process.”