Is Laboratory-Grown Hamburger Kosher?

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  • #610272
    Borough Park Mensch
    Participant

    The New York Times and various other news organizations reported today that a hamburger was produced from meat grown in a lab in a $325,000 experiment.

    While the dish served at the news conference was unquestionably treifa</m> by reason of being basar v’chalav (prepared in butter, multiple questions of Halacha arise.

    For example, does the obligation of schechita apply when there is no animal present? If you say that it does, how about if the original (i.e. the “donor” cattle) was slaughtered properly?

    While this subject can easily lend itself to jokes, let’s try and keep it serious, please.

    #969828
    rebdoniel
    Member

    There’s an issue with Davar haMa’amid BIG TIME.

    Looking into scenarios where shechita isn’t a necessity is more feasible, IMHO.

    #969829
    mms601
    Participant

    First be sure it’s basar

    #969830
    TheGoq
    Participant

    How does one shecht a test tube?

    #969831
    Sam2
    Participant

    We had a thread on this already, didn’t we? I think Yitay started it last summer.

    BPM: If it’s Kosher then it’s not Basar B’chalav.

    #969832
    akuperma
    Participant

    This is still science fiction. At some point the questions will be: 1) is “meat” grown by cells considered “meat” at all; 2) does it need to come from an animal that was slaughtered and kashered? Its very similar to the issues involving Rennet (an enzyme derived from an animal that is used to produce some cheeses). Many people that rennet, derived from an animal, does not render cheese non-kosher, while some even hold that the rennet can even come from a non-kashered animal, and other prefer rennet derived from non-fleishig sources.

    #969833
    SaysMe
    Member

    hmm i didn’t even think about kashrus. I just asked if it’d be fleishigs. The answer i got was a probably yes based off… Hm now i can’t even remember the example. Something with does yeast derived from


    make chometz… I’ll have to ask about kosher n ask for a refresher on fleishigs.

    #969834
    DaMoshe
    Participant

    I think there are a few issues here.

    In this case, the “meat” was grown from stem cells, not from nothing. I’d assume the stem cells need to be from an animal that is kosher, and was properly shechted. If it’s not, wouldn’t that make the meat treif?

    The thought of buttel b’shishim occurred to me. However, doesn’t the rule only apply when the small amount doesn’t affect the taste of the final product? In this case, the entire product is based off of the small amount, so it definitely has an affect on it. Would we say buttel b’shishim applies here?

    #969835
    akuperma
    Participant

    The closest thing to that now is Rennet used in making cheese. There are lots of different opinions on that one. Based on how long it took to decide on the status of potatoes and turkeys (are the former hametz or not, are the latter a kosher bird), it will probably take a generation or two for a consensus to build. It will be an interesting case study in halachic decision making.

    #969836
    nitpicker
    Participant

    to akuperma

    potatos chometz? I am sure you meant to write kitnyes.

    #969837
    musser zoger
    Participant

    RD- If anyone can find a heter, I’m sure you can.

    #969838
    oomis
    Participant

    So funny you post that. I just saw the article and immediately thought the same thing. Is it kosher, is it basar, does it require kashering??????

    #969839
    akuperma
    Participant

    nitpicker: I’ld assume they decided quickly on that. Remember that around 1500, they were introduced to Corn (American Corn, Maize), Potatoes, Tomatoes, Tobacco and all sorts of new things, and it took a while to settle down and decide what was what.Turkey actually swtiched from being treff to kosher. It will be fun to watch people decide what to do with artificial meat (my guess is that the solution (which will probably be parve)it is grown in must be kosher, and that the initial initial microscopic cells must be from a properly slaughtered kosher animal – and that the debates will focus on whether the resulting food is fleisig or parve (with rennet, we hold that since the solution the product is grown in is milkig, the product is milkig – which would suggest the the “meat” in question might be parve — but anyone who insists on using parve rennet would probably hold it to be fleshig).

    #969840
    LevAryeh
    Member

    What about kol hayotzei min hatamei tamei? This is the reason milk from a non-kosher animal is not kosher. Keep in mind, though, that this rule does not apply to honey, for example, because it is not considered a “yotzei”. This would not neccessarily mean that artificial burgers are fleishigs. Think milk.

    #969841
    oomis
    Participant

    to akuperma

    potatos chometz? I am sure you meant to write kitnyes.’

    Actually, we learned that potatoes were initially going to be considered as mamesh chametz, but because people would have created such an uproar, as it was such a crucial and cheap staple of the diet, the rabbanim backed down and reassessed the situation.

    #969842
    oomis
    Participant

    So if the meat, coming from properly shechted kosher beef, were not considered basar, theoretically we could finally eat a real cheeseburger?????? (Because that’s all we are missing in life, right?)

    #969843
    nitpicker
    Participant

    to akuperma

    huh? you mean you -were- referring to chometz?!!

    There was never any question as to whether potatoes where chometz.

    There were those like the chayeh odom, who takes it for granted,

    that potatoes are kitniyos. To prove his point that kitnyos may be declared permissible during a famine (not to prove potatoes kitnyos), he cites an example where a place decided to permit potatoes for that year!

    #969844
    nitpicker
    Participant

    and that the initial initial microscopic cells must be from a properly slaughtered kosher animal

    They are probably taken from a LIVE animal.

    #969845
    Sam2
    Participant

    akuperma: You need to learn Basar B’chalav again. What you say is quite inaccurate.

    LA: This wouldn’t have a Din of Kol HaYotzei… It’s Mamash a part of the animal that you just grew outside of it.

    Davar Hama’amid would be a major issue if the animal was cloned after being dead. I think it would be Basar Min HaChai if they took the cells before the animal died. Or at least an Issur Asei of Eino Zavuach.

    #969846
    akuperma
    Participant

    Sam2: You may not be aware that many people hold that even if rennet is derived from a dead animal, the cheese made with that meat abstract is kosher. There are shitahs that hold that even if the animal was treff, the cheese would be kosher. Those people who allow cheese made non-vegetarian rennet, will probably hold the “meat” made from animal stem cells is kosher and parve (depending on the nature of the nutrients used to make the “meat”). Those who reject cheese made with non-vegetarian rennet will probably hold that the “meat” is kosher only if the initial cells were from a properly kashered animal.

    Since this is still really more science fiction than anything else, its a bit early to worry about the matter.

    #969848
    Sam2
    Participant

    Oomis: The only way someone could have considered potatoes Chametz Gamur is if they didn’t know what a potato was.

    #969849
    akuperma
    Participant

    Sam2: In the 1500 they did NOT know what a potato was, not a tomato (for years they thought it was poisonous), nor tobacco (many thought it was a health food), and certainly not what American call “corn” (a.k.a. maize). The initial consensus was that Turkeys (“hodu” in Hebrew) were non-kosher.

    I’m suggesting that with the possibility of artificial “meat” (and perhaps something like “replicator” produced food similar to science fiction shows such as Star Trek, involving 3D printers that are now getting invented) – it will be an interesting time, but in this case, interesting in a food sort of way.

    #969850
    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit
    Participant

    If I remember correctly, the issur is ever min hachai, not bassar min hachai. Since stem cells are taken from the blood the question would be whether it is blood or not.

    #969851
    Sam2
    Participant

    Gamanit: It’s not real Ever Min Hachai unless there is a full Ever, with Basar, Gidim, V’atzamos. So this would be Basar Min Hachai.

    Akuperma: You should stop presuming and look things up. Those who are Mattir using real rennet hold it’s okay because the rennet isn’t considered meat. Since it’s taken from the stomach lining, they hold it was a Din of “Or” and animal skins aren’t Treif since they are inherently inedible (with the exception of pig flesh).

    And it would be hard to Assur a potato before they knew it existed. My point was that those who heard of it and said it was Chametz Gamur (if anyone had ever said that) must have never actually seen one.

    And you are incorrect in your history about turkeys as well. No one ever held it was a Treif bird. It is plain to see that the turkey has the Simanim of a Kosher bird. However, the Ashkenazi Minhag, as brought down in the Rama, is to not eat any bird unless we have a Mesorah that it is a Kosher bird, regardless of the Simanim. There was obviously never any Mesorah on turkeys so Ashkenazim didn’t eat it.

    Ironically enough, Ashkenazim began eating turkey when they saw Sephardim eating them. They (erroneously) assumed that their Sephardi brothers must have had a Mesorah that a turkey was a Kosher bird and therefore they could rely on the Sephardi Mesorah. The Sephardim never had any such Mesorah; they just didn’t have the Chumra of the Rama to only eat a bird on which there is a Mesorah.

    There is a post-facto Limud Z’chus on the Ashkenazim who began eating turkeys in that maybe the turkey is similar enough to a chicken that they can Halachically be considered just another species of chicken and therefore the Ashkenazi Mesorah on chicken allows us to eat turkey as well. (The SHU”T Chasam Sofer OC 127 has a reference to the “Sephardi chickens that are bigger than Ashkenazi ones”, a clear reference to turkey.) Many people today, most notably Briskers, hold that this logic is entirely illegitimate and that we obviously cannot rely upon the Sephardic non-Mesorah on this and therefore do not eat turkey.

    #969852
    nitpicker
    Participant

    “Ironically enough, Ashkenazim began eating turkey when they saw Sephardim eating them. They (erroneously) assumed that their Sephardi brothers must have had a Mesorah that a turkey was a Kosher bird and therefore they could rely on the Sephardi Mesorah. “

    Interesting. but not necessarily so.

    when turkeys were introduced there was a lot of halachik discussion as the its kashrus and some tshuvos exist.

    but somehow the turkey became accepted.

    What I have read that exactly how turkey became widely accepted is lost to history.

    The idea that it was accepted because it is like chicken, I find that very implausible.

    #969853
    akuperma
    Participant

    1. It isn’t known how the stem cells will be derived, or what sort of nutrient will be used to grow the “meat.”

    2. Many people hold by rennet from meat, and some even allow it from a treff animal – and some people insist on vegetarian rennet. It’s an ongoing dispute. Anyone who believes this is a settled manner is in error.

    3. The original wild Turkeys, which in no way resembled modern Turkeys (they fly, feed themselves and are quite wild) were not universally accepted in the early 16th century and there was much discussion (so amusing, as many thought they came from India and were a type of chicken). It was no slam dunk they would be accepted. Over time a consensus was reached, but one finds discussions and debates lasting until quite recently.

    #969854
    Sam2
    Participant

    Akuperma: You ignored what I said. The rennet comes from the stomach lining (it isn’t present in muscle or fat tissue), which doesn’t have a Din of anything because it isn’t food. Thus, it wouldn’t be Treif even if from a Treif animal. You also ignored where I pointed out that there are still those today who don’t eat turkey.

    #969855
    nitpicker
    Participant

    there are still those today who don’t eat turkey.

    but they are few. I read a tshuvo from the debreciner z’tl

    who wrote that there is no longer anyone who questions eating turkey.

    While this is factually incorrect, but they are so few he wasn’t aware of it. I believe I saw a similar loshon from another posek.

    #969856

    The real question is, can vegetarians eat it???

    #969857
    Sam2
    Participant

    nitpicker: The population of those who won’t eat turkey is growing, actually. Brisk is bigger than it ever was before. I know of a growing cadre of guys in the Mir who won’t eat turkey. Even in YU there is a chunk of guys who won’t eat it, since a bunch of them hold of Brisker Chumros (because they are Talmidim of Talmidim of R’ Soloveitchik).

    #969858
    DaMoshe
    Participant

    I won’t eat turkey.

    Not because I’m extra machmir. I just can’t stand the taste of it!

    #969859
    akuperma
    Participant

    Sam2: What I am see is that people still disagree about cheese (some kosher Yidden insist on vegetarian rennet, others allow even rennet derived from a treff cow, most are in the middle), and it is wrong to say this is settled.

    The possible “meat” in question will be debated. Some people will definitely hold that the stem cells come from a kashered slaughtered animal and that the product is fleishig. Others will probably be less fussy. It is unreasonable to expect a definitive agreement to be reached any time soon, since we like to debate such matters.

    #969860
    Sam2
    Participant

    You entirely missed the part where I explained that the reason for those who are Mattir Treif rennet is not at all what you said. I wasn’t saying it was a settled issue. I was explaining that you were wrong in your reason. And, as I explained, I cannot see how anyone would be Mattir if the cells came from a live or Treif animal. Ma’amid and Basar Min Hachai are issues you can’t get around here.

    #969861
    nitpicker
    Participant

    to sam2:

    In the Mir? That is surprising. Perhaps they are not aware of what Rav Moshe had to say about it. Then again, perhaps they are.

    Anyway thanks for the info.

    #969862
    Sam2
    Participant

    nitpicker: I knew about 15 guys who all went to the Mir who don’t eat turkey and they’ve told me that they have convinced other Bochurim also. I don’t know how many there are now, but they claim to be growing.

    #969863
    cherrybim
    Participant

    “there are still those today who don’t eat turkey.”

    Not because turkey is treif, but because of minhag. if they held that turkey was treif, these people would not in another’s home or restaurant since the turkey would make everything treif(other food and keilim).

    #969864
    rebdoniel
    Member

    With rennet, they argue that it’s davar chadash. Cells do not become davar chadash. You’d need to begin with cells from a cow that has been slaughtered properly, and whether or not the ensuing product is considered meat or not is questionable, since there is no bitul be shishim with a davar ha ma’amid.

    #969865
    Sam2
    Participant

    Cherrybim: No one who actually ever saw a turkey thought it was Treif. The turkey has the Simanim of a Kosher bird. The only Shailah is about whether a Mesorah exists for turkey (which it doesn’t), as I explained above. But yes, the complete consensus nowadays is that it’s an issue of a Chumras HaRama and not an actual Tarfus issue, so they won’t Assur Keilim for that.

    (Then again, it’s not so relevant because real Briskers won’t eat anything cooked at a non-Brisker house because Briskers have a large number of Chumros, more than just the turkey. I’ll have to ask R’ Schachter at some point if Briskers would hold that a turkey would Assur the Keilim.)

    #969866
    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit
    Participant

    I don’t think it’s basar min hachai either, since they aren’t taking any flesh. They’re taking a part of the blood. Since blood is assur, the question may be whether stem cells can be considered blood, or is it something else.

    #969867
    Sam2
    Participant

    Gamanit: The article said the cells came from shoulder muscles. But that aside, stem cells should need to come from lymph nodes or bone marrow, both of which would have a Din of Basar.

    #969868
    Participant

    But that aside, stem cells should need to come from lymph nodes or bone marrow, both of which would have a Din of Basar.

    Stem cells exist in all organs. You don’t need totipotent or ploripotent cells to create a hamburger. Oligopotent cells should be enough.

    #969869
    jono
    Member

    My bigger concern is the objective of lab grown meat. The ultimate plan is to create a world where we can grow meat from living cows and therefore no need to slaughter.

    There are people out there who consider shecitah inhumane. Imagine we decide that lab grown meat is not kosher and we continue to slaughter when the rest of the world doesnt. Wont be very popular…

    #969870
    apushatayid
    Participant

    Is laboratory grown hamburger, hamburger?

    #969871
    cherrybim
    Participant

    “The turkey has the Simanim of a Kosher bird.”

    Actually, it’s pretty difficult to peel the membrane off the turkey gizzard (pupik); whereas one sign of a kosher bird is that the inside membrane comes off easily.

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