Bridging tradition and innovation to embark on an historic journey to develop a kosher meat certification process for cultivated poultry industry
NEW YORK/TEL AVIV, September 6, 2023 – OU Kosher, the Kosher certification division of the Orthodox Union (OU), and the world’s largest and most widely recognized kosher certification agency, determined that the chicken cell line of SuperMeat, a leading cultivated meat company, meets Kosher meat Mehadrin standards. Following this acknowledgement, the parties are embarking on a thorough examination of the entire supply chain and the cultivated meat production process. This will establish clear guidelines for other enterprises in the cultivated meat sector. This historic endeavor is a pivotal moment in the overlap of religious dietary standards and advanced food technology in the cultivated meat industry and indicates for the first time a wide consensus among Jewish religious factions.
The OU’s recognition came after a series of in-depth halachic discussions and scientific reviews. These reviews focused on avian embryogenesis and stem cells, including the observation of the excision of embryonic stem cells from a fertilized chicken egg prior to the appearance of blood spots.
“The kosher certification for cultivated meat poses a unique halachic challenge, requiring innovative guidelines that mirror the scientific and technological advancements integral to these novel products,” stated Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher and Rabbi of Congregation Shomrei Emunah, author and teacher at YU. “This collaboration aims to bridge the gap between scientific understanding and halachic adjudication, setting unprecedented standards in the cultivated meat industry.”
As part of the review process, SuperMeat hosted two key rabbinic delegations. The first included Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Rosh yeshiva (dean) at Yeshiva University (YU), and halakhic advisor for the kashrut division of the OU; Rabbi Asher Weiss, among the leading halachic judges in Israel, founder and head of Beis Din Darchei Torah and Beis Midrash Minchas Osher and Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon, Rabbi of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, Rabbi of Mada Toratecha (Science and Torah) and Rosh Yeshiva of the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) and founder of Sulamot. Each is an important, contemporary arbiter of Halacha (Jewish Law) and has written numerous books and decisions on the subject. They were accompanied by students and colleagues. On the second visit, SuperMeat hosted Rabbi Menachem Genack (see above). He was accompanied by students, Israeli rabbis and colleagues.
Based on in-depth discussions and reviews, the OU has determined that SuperMeat’s poultry cell line development process has broad acceptance as the basis for a kosher, Mehadrin, meat product – the most stringent level of kosher supervision.
“Aligning our technology with kosher dietary laws holds immense significance for us. This step represents our commitment to inclusivity and respect for diverse dietary needs, making our cultivated chicken meat accessible to audiences around the world,” stated Ido Savir, CEO of SuperMeat. “This recognition of our process is a testament to our meticulous attention to detail and the high standards we uphold. We believe this historic initiative with the Orthodox Union not only broadens the options for kosher consumers worldwide but will also set clear guidelines for other companies in the cultivated meat industry.”
With this decision, OU Kosher and SuperMeat embark on a groundbreaking project to bring high-quality, cultivated, poultry products produced with the highest level of kashrut supervision to future customers. This joint effort will serve as a guide for other cultivated meat companies seeking Kosher certification, opening new avenues for the kosher food industry.
For more information, please contact [email protected].
About Orthodox Union (OU)
The Orthodox Union is one of the largest Orthodox Jewish organizations in the United States. Founded in 1898, the OU supports a network of synagogues, youth programs, Jewish and Religious Zionist advocacy programs, programs for the disabled, localized religious study programs, and international units. Its OU Kosher division is the world’s largest and most widely recognized kosher certification agency. OU Kosher maintains a kosher certification service, whose circled-U hechsher symbol, Ⓤ, is found on the labels of up to 70% of kosher commercial and consumer food products. For more information, please visit https://www.ou.org/.
SuperMeat is a food-tech company working to supply the world with high-quality meat grown directly from animal cells. The company’s products offer a delicious meat experience and a high-quality nutritional profile, while being manufactured in a sustainable, GMO-free, and slaughter-free way. SuperMeat’s proprietary cultivated meat platform allows food companies to be at the forefront of the emerging cultivated meat industry and manufacture a wide range of products containing cultivated meat inside. SuperMeat is the first B2B company to address the entire category of poultry meat from fat to muscle, providing a complete solution to cultivated meat production. For more information, please visit https://supermeat.com/.