A trio of leading Islamic scholars in the Middle East have decided that cultivated meat can be halal if the production process meets certain criteria.
The announcement came from GOOD Meat, the cultivated meat division of food technology company Eat Just, Inc.
According to the company, the Shariah scholars reviewed documentation prepared by GOOD Meat that described the production process for its cultivated chicken. The group studied details about how the cells are sourced and selected, the ingredients fed to the cells to stimulate growth, how the cells are harvested, and how finished products are manufactured.
GOOD Meat said that it also engaged the Halal Product Advisory to advise and assist the company with the official process for halal pre-certification in Saudi Arabia and globally.
The scholars concluded that cultivated meat can be considered halal under the following conditions:
- The cell line is from an animal that is permissible to eat, such as a chicken or a cow.
- The animal the cell line is extracted from is slaughtered according to Islamic law.
- The nutrients fed to the cells are permissible to eat, and do not include any substances that are forbidden to be eaten such as spilled blood, alcohol or materials extracted from animals that have not been slaughtered properly or pigs.
- The cultivated meat is edible and that it does not harm human health, and this is confirmed by referring to specialists, such as a country’s food regulatory agency.
The opportunity for halal cultivated meat in Australia
Halal food in Australia is currently a multi-billion dollar business, according to the Halal Times. Statistics put the expanding Muslim population in Australia at 3.5 percent, a 50% increase since 2011.
The report also noted that Australia’s globally leading food safety standards along with consumer emphasis on health and wellness are key drivers of the local halal market.
With cultivated meat products currently under review by regulators and expected to hit shelves next year, brands may have the opportunity to expand their customer base by creating products that meet halal standards.