[LMB] Kosher

Michael Bauminger lmblist at mikebomb.com
Tue Nov 29 02:18:20 GMT 2016

On Monday, November 28, 2016 10:48 AM ,  Harvey Fishman  wrote:

William Wenrich wrote:
> > So, is vat pork kosher? The meat, after all, never was part of a 
> > pig.

> NO vat meat would be kosher. To meet the laws of Kashruth, the
> animal must have cloven hoofs and chew its cud. Synthetically
> grown meat would not meet those criteria.

This assumes that vat meat is considered "meat" for kashrut purposes, 
which is in itself debatable.

Most kosher cheese today is produced with rennet obtained from bacteria 
that are producing animal (cow or sheep) enzyme because the gene for the 
enzyme has been taken from the animal and spliced into the bacteria. 
Even though this rennet is molecularly identical to animal rennet, and 
it wasn't taken from the gut of a ritually slaughtered kosher animal, it 
is kosher because it is not the product of an animal: it is the 
by-product of a micro-organism, and micro-organisms and their 
by-products are kosher. Therefore, if the vat meat is produced by or 
from some strain of micro-organism, it would almost certainly be kosher, 
even if the micro-organism was gene spliced to grow "meat". The original 
species of animal that provided the genes for the micro-organism should 
not matter, either. Such "meat" should be kosher, even if it is 

However, if vat meat is produced by chemically (or otherwise) inducing 
some piece of meat taken from an animal to cellular division, whether 
that "additional" meat would be kosher is much trickier. First the 
rabbis would have to decide whether such additionally grown meat is 
"meat" for kosher purposes or some new category of synthetic food. If it 
is considered as real meat, the only possible way for the additional 
meat to be kosher would be if the base stock came from a ritually 
slaughtered kosher animal. It it was, the question would then devolve on 
whether the additionally grown portions are considered as part of the 
original animal or not.

If it is not considered to have the status of real meat, then the 
question becomes whether this new synthetic food is kosher. If it is, 
then the original species and whether or not it was ritually slaughtered 
should have no bearing on the question and it should just be kosher. If 
it is not, it would not be kosher even if it started from a ritually 
slaughtered kosher animal.

I am not a rabbi but I do exclusively eat kosher and am generally 
familiar with the kashrut laws. My educated guess is that if the vat 
meat came from a piece of an animal reproducing itself by cellular 
division endlessly like a tumor, it would end up considered as not 
kosher. It would be considered as real meat that was not part of the 
original animal so was not ritually slaughtered and is therefore not 

-- Michael, back to lurking 

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