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Paris - Orthodox Groups Debate Kashrut Of Lab-Grown Cheeseburgers

Published on: August 9, 2013 06:10 PM
By: Reuters
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Paris - When the world’s first test-tube beef burger was cooked and eaten this week, food critics all asked about its taste. For many Jews, Muslims and Hindus, the first question was whether their faith allowed them to try it.

Religious websites were abuzz with questions and opinions this week after biologist Mark Post of Maastricht University presented his innovation to the media in London on Monday.

“Is the lab-created burger kosher?” the Hasidic Jewish movement Chabad Lubavitch asked on its website.

Dietary laws exist in many religions, but came about so long ago that not even their prophets could have imagined a ready-to-fry beef patty grown in-vitro from the stem cells of a cow.

If religious authorities interpret their ancient texts in a way that allows them to give this new food their blessing, now-banned kosher cheeseburgers and Hindu hamburgers, as well as an undisputed method of producing halal meat, could be possible.

Chabad’s Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin wrote the Talmud tells of “miraculous meat” that fell from heaven or was conjured up by rabbis studying a mystic text.

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Since it was automatically kosher because it wasn’t from a real animal, this could be a model for test-tube meat.

But he said if the stem cells are real meat, they have to come from a cow slaughtered according to kosher law, which says the animal’s throat must be slit while it is still conscious.

Expert rabbis need to study this more carefully “when the issue becomes more practical and petri-dish burgers become and affordable option,” Shurpin concluded.

The kosher ban on mixing meat and dairy products presents another hurdle for observant Jews considering a cheeseburger.

Rabbi Menachem Genack of the Orthodox Union in New York told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that test-tube beef could be considered “parve” (neither meat nor dairy) under certain conditions and so kosher cheeseburgers could be allowed.

LIKE YOGURT AND PICKLES

Islam’s halal laws require ritual slaughter similar to kosher butchering, but with fewer restrictions.

“There does not appear to be any objection to eating this type of cultured meat,” the Islamic Institute of Orange County in California responded to a questioner on its website.

Animal rights activists see the Muslim and Jewish slaughter methods as unnecessary cruelty and calls to ban this kind of butchering have grown in Europe in recent years as halal meat has become increasingly available in shops and restaurants.

Gulf News in Dubai quoted Abdul Qahir Qamar of the International Islamic Fiqh Academy in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, as saying in-vitro meat “will not be considered meat from live animals, but will be cultured meat.”

As long as the cells used are not from pigs, dogs or other animals banned under the halal laws, he said, the meat would be vegetative and “similar to yogurt and fermented pickles.”

Several Muslim websites left fresh questions about this new meat unanswered, probably because Muslims were more concerned this week with celebrating the end of the fasting month Ramadan.

NOT FOR VEGETARIANS

The prospect of meatless beef has also prompted debate in India, where the Hindu majority shuns steaks and burgers because it considers the cow sacred.

“We will not accept it being traded in a marketplace in any form or being used for a commercial purpose,” Chandra Kaushik, president of the Hindu nationalist group Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha, told the India Real Time blog.

Religious websites have been debating the test-tube meat issue for some time now, especially since news about biologist Post’s project began circulating about four years ago.

Many Hindus and Sikhs are vegetarians, so several of them posted comments saying they probably wouldn’t like the taste of artificial meat even if it was declared permissible.

“Who wants to eat a carcass anyways, lab grown or not?” one reader asked on the Hindu Dharma Forums website.



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Read Comments (30)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Aug 09, 2013 at 06:17 PM Anonymous Says:

i never heard that Sikhs were vegetarians - all i heard is that they are forbidden to eat any meat killed in a ritual style, such as Kosher or Halal

2

 Aug 09, 2013 at 07:49 PM murray059 Says:

I don't care if this slime is kosher any more than knowing that giraffe or grass hoppers are kosher....wouldn't even get near the stuff. All GMO fake 'food' is bad stuff.

3

 Aug 10, 2013 at 02:47 AM RobertS Says:

Reply to #2  
murray059 Says:

I don't care if this slime is kosher any more than knowing that giraffe or grass hoppers are kosher....wouldn't even get near the stuff. All GMO fake 'food' is bad stuff.

You may not like the idea of GMO foods but it does that follow that they are automatically bad. You are ignorant of science, logic, and rhetoric. I hope you don't work at any job requiring knowledge of those areas.

4

 Aug 10, 2013 at 11:19 AM WCHSeal Says:

But if the stem cells used to grow the meat were taken from an animal which was slaughtered by non-Kosher or non-Halal methods, I'd say not. And if the stem cells were taken from a living animal it would be definitely non-Kosher. As to the Hindu question, I don't know.

5

 Aug 10, 2013 at 02:55 PM proud-mo-israeli Says:

Good for the Hindus. The ONLY ones with Sechel.

6

 Aug 10, 2013 at 09:19 PM murray059 Says:

Reply to #3  
RobertS Says:

You may not like the idea of GMO foods but it does that follow that they are automatically bad. You are ignorant of science, logic, and rhetoric. I hope you don't work at any job requiring knowledge of those areas.

In every side by side comparison of the organic food vs. the gmo, the gmo is nutritionally deficient by a substantial margin, not to mention other harmful effects.
Obviously any simpleton can see through your agenda, you either own stock in, or are employed by Monsanto.

7

 Aug 10, 2013 at 10:04 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

i never heard that Sikhs were vegetarians - all i heard is that they are forbidden to eat any meat killed in a ritual style, such as Kosher or Halal

why would we care that you are uneducated and ignorant?

8

 Aug 10, 2013 at 10:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
WCHSeal Says:

But if the stem cells used to grow the meat were taken from an animal which was slaughtered by non-Kosher or non-Halal methods, I'd say not. And if the stem cells were taken from a living animal it would be definitely non-Kosher. As to the Hindu question, I don't know.

are you a posek (rhetorical question)?

Why are you commenting about this (ignorantly, I might add) here when you are clearly unqualified to make sucyh a judgment?

9

 Aug 10, 2013 at 10:07 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
proud-mo-israeli Says:

Good for the Hindus. The ONLY ones with Sechel.

if they are the "ONLY" ones (your emphasis!), I guess you're not that proud to be a Jew, as your eName implies

10

 Aug 10, 2013 at 10:11 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
murray059 Says:

In every side by side comparison of the organic food vs. the gmo, the gmo is nutritionally deficient by a substantial margin, not to mention other harmful effects.
Obviously any simpleton can see through your agenda, you either own stock in, or are employed by Monsanto.

not only is your claim untrue, but you are obviously a nitwit to think that someone who owns stock in Monsanto would somehow profit by giving his opinion on VIN, much less someone who works for Monsanto.

And why do you bring organic food into your comparison? it's not even mentioned in the article or other comments?

Don't know much about food OR the stock market, do you? I guess you're tight in saying a simpleton can see through the commenter's agenda, since you seem to!

11

 Aug 10, 2013 at 10:18 PM Sociologist Says:

Reply to #2  
murray059 Says:

I don't care if this slime is kosher any more than knowing that giraffe or grass hoppers are kosher....wouldn't even get near the stuff. All GMO fake 'food' is bad stuff.

Do you eat cheese? Most rennet is made from engineered microorganisms.

12

 Aug 10, 2013 at 10:46 PM bewhiskered Says:

Reply to #4  
WCHSeal Says:

But if the stem cells used to grow the meat were taken from an animal which was slaughtered by non-Kosher or non-Halal methods, I'd say not. And if the stem cells were taken from a living animal it would be definitely non-Kosher. As to the Hindu question, I don't know.

"But if the stem cells used to grow the meat were taken from an animal which was slaughtered by non-Kosher or non-Halal methods,"

Pardon me, but are you a renown פוסק, who is scientifically knowledgeable of genetically modified organisms? Rather than being מורה הוראה while על רגל אחת, we really should wait for further developments.

13

 Aug 10, 2013 at 10:54 PM Refyok Says:

It's totally kosher if its cut from the petri dish its grown in with a sharp knife without nicks.

14

 Aug 10, 2013 at 11:01 PM Ugh! Says:

I couldn't care less, just the idea of eating cheeseburgers is revolting to me.

15

 Aug 10, 2013 at 11:07 PM Reb Yid Says:

The stem cell is microscopic. It's by definition kosher. It's like eating bacteria that are everywhere. Growing it on a petri dish is like growing yeast or any other microorganism.

16

 Aug 10, 2013 at 11:09 PM murray059 Says:

Reply to #10  
Anonymous Says:

not only is your claim untrue, but you are obviously a nitwit to think that someone who owns stock in Monsanto would somehow profit by giving his opinion on VIN, much less someone who works for Monsanto.

And why do you bring organic food into your comparison? it's not even mentioned in the article or other comments?

Don't know much about food OR the stock market, do you? I guess you're tight in saying a simpleton can see through the commenter's agenda, since you seem to!

If the best you can do is resort to name calling, I suggest you do some reading on the subject. For example, gmo corn contains 18 times the "SAFE' level (as per FDA)of glyphosphate . an ear of GMO corn contains 13ppm of glyphosphate (regular corn=0) 0.1 ppm have been shown to cause organ damage in test animals.

17

 Aug 11, 2013 at 12:23 AM bewhiskered Says:

Reply to #14  
Ugh! Says:

I couldn't care less, just the idea of eating cheeseburgers is revolting to me.

"just the idea of eating cheeseburgers is revolting to me"

According to the ספרא קדשים ט, you should not say this!

ר"א בן עזריה אומר מנין שלא יאמר אדם אי איפשי ללבוש שעטנז אי איפשי לאכול בשר חזיר אי איפשי לבוא על העורה אבל איפשי מה אעשה ואבי שבשמים גזר עלי כך.

The reason you don't eat it is not because of your personal tastes, but rather, because the תורה tells you not to.

18

 Aug 11, 2013 at 12:27 AM esther Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

why would we care that you are uneducated and ignorant?

friendly reminder-it's choidesh elul.

19

 Aug 11, 2013 at 01:35 AM sheepheadsbayyid Says:

Reply to #17  
bewhiskered Says:

"just the idea of eating cheeseburgers is revolting to me"

According to the ספרא קדשים ט, you should not say this!

ר"א בן עזריה אומר מנין שלא יאמר אדם אי איפשי ללבוש שעטנז אי איפשי לאכול בשר חזיר אי איפשי לבוא על העורה אבל איפשי מה אעשה ואבי שבשמים גזר עלי כך.

The reason you don't eat it is not because of your personal tastes, but rather, because the תורה tells you not to.

really it only says do not cook the calf with the milk of its mother no mention of eating

20

 Aug 11, 2013 at 07:17 AM Aron1 Says:

Reply to #5  
proud-mo-israeli Says:

Good for the Hindus. The ONLY ones with Sechel.

I don't know if the Hindus are the "ONLY ones with Sechel", but apparently there are definitely people who are grossly lacking sechel.

21

 Aug 11, 2013 at 08:56 AM Rockofthepeg Says:

Am I the only one who didn't know that the OU certifies some bovine based gelatin as kosher and pareve? Since when and in what foods and based on whose ruling?

22

 Aug 11, 2013 at 10:30 AM Mentsh Says:

Reply to #14  
Ugh! Says:

I couldn't care less, just the idea of eating cheeseburgers is revolting to me.

I agree. Even if loopholes exist, it just seems so wrong! (And those of you who follow my posts from time to time know that I tend to be pretty liberal about things.) Plus, the idea of eating genetically-engineered meat just isn't appealing.

23

 Aug 11, 2013 at 10:34 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
murray059 Says:

In every side by side comparison of the organic food vs. the gmo, the gmo is nutritionally deficient by a substantial margin, not to mention other harmful effects.
Obviously any simpleton can see through your agenda, you either own stock in, or are employed by Monsanto.

Why is that true? Because Murray059 says so!

24

 Aug 11, 2013 at 10:38 AM bewhiskered Says:

Reply to #19  
sheepheadsbayyid Says:

really it only says do not cook the calf with the milk of its mother no mention of eating

"really it only says do not cook the calf with the milk of its mother no mention of eating ”

You are obviously unfamiliar with the גמרא in:

קידושין נ"ז ע"ב
חולין קט"ו ע"ב

Where it says that לא תבשל גדי is written three times- once for the prohibition of EATING, once for the prohibition of benefit, and once for the prohibition of boiling.

25

 Aug 11, 2013 at 11:06 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #16  
murray059 Says:

If the best you can do is resort to name calling, I suggest you do some reading on the subject. For example, gmo corn contains 18 times the "SAFE' level (as per FDA)of glyphosphate . an ear of GMO corn contains 13ppm of glyphosphate (regular corn=0) 0.1 ppm have been shown to cause organ damage in test animals.

your attempt to change the subject is obvious. I stand by EVERYTHING I wrote in my comment about your comment.

BTW, it's not name-calling when you call something by its proper name.

26

 Aug 11, 2013 at 11:08 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #15  
Reb Yid Says:

The stem cell is microscopic. It's by definition kosher. It's like eating bacteria that are everywhere. Growing it on a petri dish is like growing yeast or any other microorganism.

It may be kosher, but it is NOT "by definition' kosher, and YOU don't have the authority to make that claim anyway.

use your words more carefully, especially when you are pretending to be a posek.

27

 Aug 11, 2013 at 11:10 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #14  
Ugh! Says:

I couldn't care less, just the idea of eating cheeseburgers is revolting to me.

Why do you feel that people are interested in what appeals to you or revolts you?

Other people, including frum Jews, eat cheeseburgers every day (I often have it myself, with pareve vegeburgers, wwhich look and taste like regular hamburgers).

28

 Aug 11, 2013 at 11:11 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #13  
Refyok Says:

It's totally kosher if its cut from the petri dish its grown in with a sharp knife without nicks.

very childish and immature attempt at humor!

29

 Aug 11, 2013 at 11:45 PM murray059 Says:

Reply to #25  
Anonymous Says:

your attempt to change the subject is obvious. I stand by EVERYTHING I wrote in my comment about your comment.

BTW, it's not name-calling when you call something by its proper name.

Stop hiding behind the annon. label,Mr. Monsanto.

30

 Aug 12, 2013 at 11:25 AM Mekav Says:

Reply to #29  
murray059 Says:

Stop hiding behind the annon. label,Mr. Monsanto.

I don't know about you, but from the research I have personally done it is obvious we have done genetic modifications to our food supply for thousands of years. Every time we engage in selective breeding of plants/animals we engage in it and it has increased our food supply far beyond prior limits (Yay for seichel and science!). Just because one company is the 800 pound gorilla in the field today does not mean all GMO foods are bad. Not even all Monsanto stuff is bad either. Some things need better checking, but on the whole GMOs will enable us to feed more people on less land, thus opening it up for development.

31

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