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COR Statement on Kosher Status of "Test-Tube" Meat

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We at COR-Kashruth Council of Canada read with great interest the recent news that scientists at Maastricht University in the Netherlands have created meat in a laboratory derived from animal cells. We are most excited by this development and see considerable potential including a possible tool to combat hunger in developing nations and an alternative staple that could drive down the cost of food.

This new discovery raises a few interesting halachik issues. Since the original meat cells are extracted from an animal, the animal would have to be a kosher one, and killed in accordance with Jewish law (shechita). In addition, extracting cells from a live animal could be problematic because of the prohibition of “basar min a chai” taking a piece of meat from an animal that is still living. Finally, it could be argued that, similar to kosher beef gelatin, the “test tube meat” could be considered pareve. Of course these are only preliminary considerations and when the time comes, COR’s rabbis will study the issue in depth and develop an official position. In the meantime, maybe the scientists should start working on test tube herring – wouldn’t that be something?

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