The world’s first test-tube burger, grown from the stem cells of a cow, may have left question this week over whether it was tasty enough for the table.
But rabbis will have to wrestle with a different problem posed by the creation of a Dutch scientist and funded to the tune of £250,000 by Google co-founder Sergei Brin — is artificial meat kosher?
According to a spokesman for America’s Orthodox Union, there were as yet “no hard and firm answers”.
But Rabbi Jeremy Conway, director of the kashrut division of the London Beth Din, ventured that while rabbis would need to know more about the manufacturing process and the ingredients used, “potentially this could make life much easier and significantly cheaper for the kosher consumer”.
Rabbi Yehuda Brodie, registrar of the Manchester Beth Din, believed that “provided the stem cells come from a kosher-slaughtered animal, by definition any meat grown from those cells would have to be kosher.”
But Dayan Yisroel Lichtenstein, head of the Federation Beth Din, believed there could be difficulties if the stem cells were extracted from a live animal.
Rabbis would have to decide whether that breached the prohibition against eating part of a live creature — in which case, according to the Noachide laws, the burger should be shunned by non-Jews as well.