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Synthetic burger - Kosher? Parve?


Any thoughts on the new foods coming down the pike? They are talking about synthetic bacon.

  1. Are you referring to the current tofu fake meat post or the cloned meat in a vat post?

    1. I can see one group saying it's pareve because it's not from a real animal; and another group saying it's treif or fleishig because it can be confused for the real thing.

      Personally, I can't wait to try bacon.

      1. The news story I heard said that since this process is still in development, the cost of the burgers served to a handful of food writers in London was like a million dollars each. Which makes Prime Grill and Bevis Marks the Restaurant look cheap.

        2 Replies
          1. re: ferret

            Oh, affordable. We should have a meetup and order some.

            The halakhic question could actually be pretty interesting.

        1. Still sourced from animal stem cells so I would guess the verdict is "treif" unless it's from a properly kosher source. Although I don't believe there's a definitive opinion out there yet.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ferret

            I imagine the opinions will range from: live animal so treif, to beef is kosher meat while pork is treif, to beef is parve but pork is treif, to everything is parve(bacon cheeseburgers for all).

            Let's just hope the rabbis deciding this one understand the science first.

            1. re: avitrek

              I predict that for X number of rabbis weighing in on this, there will be X+1 opinions.

          2. that stuff looks vile, i would rather starve to death than put that in my body.

            9 Replies
            1. re: Moishefrompardes

              Given that the reviewers said the texture was close to beef I'm not sure what's "vile" about it.

              1. re: ferret

                the entire concept of it. there are plenty of existing natural healthy sustainable food resources to focus on, this seems like a massive waste of time & money too me, & ill bet almost any amount of money it winds up triggering some new as unheard of yet cancer. I file this in the GMO category, of stuff i wont eat.

                1. re: Moishefrompardes

                  As with any such technology it's years from being a viable solution to anything but that doesn't mean it's a waste of time or money. Raising beef is costly and requires a substantial amount of vegetable protein to create a lesser amount of animal protein. It also requires a large volume of water, creates environment-polluting methane and other wastes. We may be able to supply our current needs but call me in 25-30 years when the world population will be 30% higher than it is today. We do not have limitless land for raising beef or other animal proteins.

                  1. re: ferret

                    i agree 100 percent, i think humans should likely stop consuming meat in the next 100 years( or at the very least it should be wildly expensive, raised ethically and be a special occasion food as its been through out much of human history), that doesnt mean we should be eating stuff like this, my gut is that like all processed foods, its going to turnout to be worse for us & our enviroment what it replaces.

                    1. re: Moishefrompardes

                      You're painting very broadly as to "all processed foods." A cooked carrot is "processed" because you've introduced heat into the equation thereby creating physical and chemical changes. It's irrational to fear all things processed.

                      As for concern about technology entering into the equation, there's been technology in farming since the dawn of farming. "Nature" has been creating genetic modifications through cross-pollination. Doing it in a lab may tell your gut it's less natural, but one isn't necessarily better/worse than the other.

                      1. re: ferret

                        umm, im vaguely aware of what processing food involves. my gut tells me this is the kind of thing you eat at your own peril. i can guarantee a monsanto style no liability act will be put into law shortly before its release. i for one would rather eat a carrot stick.

                        1. re: Moishefrompardes

                          There is no such thing as "a monsanto style no liability act". It's a lie invented by the wicked anti-science people who are trying to destroy Monsanto and genetic modification generally, because they hate all human progress. The anti-GMO campaign is just as evil as the anti-vaccination campaign, and potentially even deadlier.

                          1. re: zsero

                            "because they hate all human progress"

                            What? The anti-GMO people may or may not be right (I'm not convinced either way) but attributing bizarre motives to those who disagree with you isn't really a way to facilitate rational discussion.

                            1. re: JonParker

                              The anti-GMO movement KILLS people. Just for one example, their opposition to golden rice is enough to brand them evil.

            2. interesting moral dilhemma here- is lab grown bacon really pig?

              3 Replies
              1. re: zisko

                Will vegans eat lab-burgers? (Not made from actual labrador retrievers).

                1. re: ferret

                  FWIW, the rabbi at West Side Institutional has already weighed in saying something like that this would be treyf because it's from a live animal.

              2. The thought of parve meat without the high cost of shechita and cost of Glatt excites me - not to mention not having to kill animals and having Peta on our backs!

                "You, you may say I'm a dreamer
                But I'm not the only one
                I hope someday you will join us
                And the world will be as one" - Imagine, John Lennon

                1. It should be kosher and parev, so long as it's grown on a kosher substrate. Technically it's more like a fungus than anything else.

                  As for the animal stem cells from which it's derived, by the time this comes to market it will surely be many generations removed from there, so there will be none of the animal's substance in the final product. If you plant terumah, what grows from it is forbidden, but if you then plant those seeds what grows from them is permitted. Also if a non-kosher starter is used to culture kosher milk, and this process is repeated three times, it no longer has any of the non-kosher substance, and the fourth generation yoghurt (made from third-generation starter) is kosher.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: zsero


                    Have fun.
                    I remember a looooong discussion about pig hide used as gelatin, and at what point it could be kosher, if ever.
                    This link reminded me of that conversation.

                    1. re: truepeacenik

                      Not relevant. Vat-grown meat does not come from an animal, has never been part of an animal, and technically (from a halachic point of view) best fits the category of a fungus.

                      1. re: zsero

                        For the time being it is animal-derived (stem cells) so it's still a cultured product. It may at some future point be free of any animal sourcing but we ain't there yet.

                        1. re: ferret

                          That's my point. It's a cultured product; the substance of the meat did not come from any animal, it was cultured from animal cells, or from cells that were cultured from animal cells, etc. No actual animal substance in it.

                  2. Just got an email on this topic.

                    "Has the kosher cheeseburger arrived?"

                    Has the era of the kosher cheeseburger arrived?
                    The world’s first lab-grown burger could be parve and thus paired with dairy products. (David Parry / PA Wire)

                    Read more: http://www.jta.org/2013/08/07/news-op...

                    1. ... more on this topic

                      Is the Lab-Created Burger Kosher?
                      The halachic status of lab-created meat


                      1. Let's be real, guys. If this were to EVER become a mainstream product (which I doubt), that was set to replace normal meat, there is no way the kashrus agencies would undermine thousands of years of kashrus protocol by allowing it, even if technically it could be argued as parve. They would pull one of those arguments like "it could be mistaken for regular meat" or something. It's not only about the technical status, also about the social ramifications of allowing it!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: DevorahL

                          I'm not so sure about that. Earth balance, tofutti/parve ice cream, and things like that can definitely be mistaken for the real thing (as opposed to some of the fake "meat" we have now). The halacha used to be that you had to leave the label on or around, to show it was fake/pareve, but that does not seem to be the practice anymore.

                          1. re: DevorahL

                            " the kashrus agencies"

                            Yes, the kashrus agencies would fight this to save their income stream. Hopefully responsible, independent, rabbis would rule on this based on its own merits. We are living in a chumra world so it will be an uphill battle.

                          2. We are straying, the issue at play is the kashrus and parve status of the "meat" not if it is healthy. There will always be a contingent of people who will *never* be convinced of their safety. I for one would feel safer with a lab created product which is consistent in quality and free from mad cows disease and all other variables.

                            1. Chaverim, the Kosher board is at its best when Hounds are sharing advice about where to find great kosher chow, or how to make it at home. Discussions about controversies in the kosher world, the relative rigorousness of different mashgichim, and about larger religious and moral issues don't work well here, as this thread attests. We've removed a number of posts, and we're locking the thread.