Kosher Revolution! Rabbis Say Jews Can Now Eat ‘Meat’ With Dairy

Several prominent Israeli rabbis rule that synthetic meat is ‘parve’ and therefore can be consumed with dairy

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Judaism, Kosher
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu samples some of Aleph Farms' cultured meat in December 2020, calling it "unbelievably good." Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO

Israel has a number of FoodTech startups working to perfect the production of synthetic or cultured meat. And they might have just gotten a major boost with a number of prominent rabbis ruling that such meat is “parve,” and can therefore be consumed with dairy.

No doubt public interest in cultured meat will grow if it means pious Jews can finally enjoy a cheeseburger, to say nothing of the fact that the price of “real” meat is so high in the Jewish state.

Earlier this month a halachic ruling (authoritative ruling on Jewish law) was signed and issued by a number of prominent rabbis, among them the head of kashrut (kosher matters) for Tzohar, a network of more progressive Orthodox rabbis who through new government reforms have recently been granted a role in official kashrut certification in Israel.

For more on Tzohar and its new role in determining the boundaries between religion and state, see: Who Can Be Jewish in the State of Israel?

These rabbis determined that synthetic meat grown in a laboratory using “non-meat” cells will not be considered “meat” according to Jewish law. In other words, it can be eaten together with dairy products.

The rabbis noted that initially, lab-grown meat was produced by duplicating real meat cells, and thus such a ruling was more complicated, if not impossible. But today more advanced methods are using stem cells taken from unfertilized, pre-embryo eggs. These cells, according to the rabbis, do not yet constitute a living being, and are therefore not considered “meat.”

In the same way, unfertilized chicken chicken eggs, like those we buy from the grocery store, are considered “parve” by Judaism, and as such you can put cheese on that omelet.

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