Israeli startup SuperMeat announces that OU Kosher, the world’s largest kosher certification agency, has determined that its chicken cell line process meets Kosher meat Mehadrin standards — which are said to be the most stringent level of kosher supervision.
This approval of SuperMeat’s cultivated chicken signifies a pivotal moment for developing novel foods and indicates a broad consensus among Jewish religious factions for the first time, explains SuperMeat.
Furthermore, a Kosher certification provides access to sustainable meat for individuals worldwide who abide by religious dietary and food safety guidelines, and it opens the door for other certifications, such as Halal.
According to Co-founder and Executive Director of Agronomics, Jim Mellon: “This development opens up a considerable global market opportunity, with an estimated $11bn a year being spent on kosher foods in the US alone.” Agronomics has invested a total of US$ 12.5 million to date and has equity ownership of 7.8% in SuperMeat. At the beginning of the year, the cultivated beef steaks of the Israeli company Aleph Farms were also ruled as kosher.
OU Kosher’s recognition came after in-depth halachic discussions and scientific reviews at SuperMeat’s facility. According to the statement, since SuperMeat grows cultivated chicken from stem cells taken from eggs (and not from a living animal), the reviews focused on avian embryogenesis and egg stem cells.
“This step represents our commitment to inclusivity and respect for diverse dietary needs”
“This collaboration aims to bridge the gap between scientific understanding and halachic adjudication, setting unprecedented standards in the cultivated meat industry,” stated Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher.
“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,” commented Ido Savir, CEO of SuperMeat.
Options for Kosher consumers
SuperMeat and OU Kosher will work to develop a kosher meat certification process for the cultivated poultry industry. They will examine the entire supply chain and the production process to establish guidelines for other cultivated meat companies seeking Kosher certification.
Founded in 2015, SuperMeat aims to provide the highest quality chicken meat, grown directly from cells, in a sustainable and animal-friendly process. The company, which reportedly awaits regulatory approval to commercialize its products, has launched a test kitchen called The Chicken, where people taste its cultivated chicken products.
“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,” adds Savir.