USA – Orthodox Union (OU), the world’s largest kosher certification agency, has granted kosher certification to Super Meat’s chicken cell line, affirming its compliance with the highest level of kosher supervision, Mehadrin standards.
This marks a breakthrough development that not only holds profound implications for the cultivated meat industry but also signals a consensus among Jewish religious factions.
The collaboration between the OU and Super Meat, an Israeli start-up, is aimed at establishing clear guidelines for the entire supply chain and production process of cultivated meat, following rigorous halachic (Jewish law) and scientific reviews.
Osnat Shotsak, VP of business development at Super Meat, emphasized the importance of meeting religious standards, stating that it makes novel foods more inclusive and accessible to a wider range of people and expands the market reach of cell-based products.
Moreover, adherence to religious dietary laws adds a layer of trust and safety for consumers, as these laws have been followed for centuries and are deeply ingrained in the beliefs and practices of many.
Ido Savir, CEO of Super Meat, added that the initiative with the Orthodox Union will not only benefit kosher consumers worldwide but also set clear guidelines for other companies in the cultivated meat industry, potentially influencing the trajectory of cultivated meat production.
The kosher certification process for cultivated meat presented unique halachic challenges, requiring innovative guidelines that align with scientific and technological advancements.
Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher, underscored that this collaboration will bridge the gap between scientific understanding and halachic adjudication, setting unprecedented standards in the cultivated meat industry.
However, not all religious authorities are as accepting of cell-based meat. Indonesia, with its large Muslim population, has declared lab-grown meat as Haram (forbidden), citing concerns about the absence of slaughter and the tissue engineering process.
To address such concerns and prevent similar decisions in other countries, the industry has been engaged in ongoing dialogues with religious authorities.
Super Meat hosted two rabbinic delegations for the OU approval process, which included leading halachic judges and academics. The reviews encompassed various aspects, including avian embryogenesis, stem cells, and safety protocols.
Receiving kosher certification marks the latest milestone in a year marked by regulatory breakthroughs in the cultivated meat category.
Recently, the UK and Switzerland saw the first cell-based applications in Europe, while the Netherlands became the first European country to approve cultivated meat production.
Earlier this year, GOOD Meat also received the second US-cultivated meat authorization from the FDA.
In a parallel development, Mosa Meat has become the first company to achieve B Corp Certification in the cell-based meat industry, highlighting the industry’s commitment to sustainability and ethical practices.