Bringing Home the Bacon: Israeli Rabbi Says Cloned Pig Meat Could be Kosher

This August 3, 2015 photo shows bourbon pork chop flambe in Concord, NH. The bourbon gravy that is left after the flames burn out flavors every bite of the pork chop. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
AP/Matthew Mead

An Orthodox Israeli rabbi has claimed that genetically cloned pig meat could be consumed by Jews, including when eaten with dairy products.

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow said meat produced this way would not be subject to the same guidelines usually applied to regular pork. He suggested that cloned pork would have lost its “identity” and as a result Jews would also be able to eat it alongside dairy products.

Ynet published an interview in which Cherlow said that “cloned meat produced from a pig shall not be defined as prohibited for consumption – including with milk.”

The “cell of a pig is used and its genetic material is utilized in the production of food, the cell in fact loses its original identity and therefore cannot be defined as forbidden for consumption” was the stated rationale behind his claim. He added: “It wouldn’t even be meat, so you can consume it with dairy.”

This is not the first time synthetic meat has been presented as an ethical challenge for the Jewish faith.

In 2013, Rabbi Menachem Genack, head of New York’s Orthodox Union’s kosher division, said the world’s first test-tube burger could be eaten with dairy products — although Judaism forbids it in meat produced from a live animal.

He told the JTA that test-tube beef could be considered “parve,” neither meat nor dairy, which meant that kosher cheeseburgers also were acceptable.

For his part, Cherlow argues that allowing genetically engineered meat from a pig would reduce starvation and cut reliance on a worldwide meat industry he sees as unclean and causing pollution.

Cherlow, who is a leading scholar on modern interpretations of Kashrut, is also advocating for rabbinic approval to reduce animal suffering.

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