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Halal Industry

Islamic scholars deem lab-grown meat halal contingent on specific criteria

A group of Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia have issued a groundbreaking ruling, stating that lab-grown or cultivated meat can be deemed halal, provided specific conditions are met.

The ruling comes as the lab-grown meat industry seeks to explore certification options to cater to consumers who adhere to halal dietary rules.

GOOD Meat, the cultivated meat division of food technology company Eat Just, Inc., sought guidance from three Islamic scholars to determine whether cultivated meat could be deemed halal.

These scholars concluded that it could, with certain stipulations, including the source of stem cells used in the production process.

The key conditions for cultivated meat to be deemed halal include: 

  1. The cell line used must originate from an animal that is permissible to eat under Islamic dietary rules, such as a chicken or a cow.
  2. The animal from which the cell line is extracted must be slaughtered as per Islamic law.
  3. Nutrients fed to the cells must be halal and must not contain any prohibited substances, such as spilled blood, alcohol, or materials extracted from improperly slaughtered animals or pigs.
  4. The cultivated meat must be safe for human consumption, without posing any harm to health. This should be confirmed through consultation with specialists, such as a country’s food regulatory agency.

The scholars who issued the ruling include Sheikh Abdullah AlManea, Prof Abdullah al-Mutlaq, and Prof Saad Al-Shathry.

GOOD Meat, which currently does not produce halal-certified products, said in a statement that it is committed to initiating the process to ensure that its cultivated meat meets these criteria.

Josh Tetrick, chief executive and co-founder of Eat Just emphasized the importance of making cultivated meat accessible to the billions of people worldwide who follow halal dietary guidelines.

If cultivated meat is to help address our future food system needs, it has to be an option for the billions of people around the world who eat halal," Tetrick stated in a statement.

This landmark ruling is expected to be welcomed by cultivated meat companies aiming to serve regions with significant Muslim populations, such as the Middle East.

Good Meat has engaged Saudi Arabia’s Halal Products Advisory, a specialized advisory arm of the Halal Products Development Company (HPDC) to seek guidance on the certification process. HPDC is a subsidiary of the country’s Public Investment Fund.

However, it's worth noting that there is no universal consensus on this matter, given the significant variations in halal certification among different Islamic schools of thought.


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