For years, kosher Jews have abstained from bacon, and of course pretty much all things pig. They also refuse to mix meat and dairy, rendering cheeseburgers not simply sinful delights, but rather just simply sinful in the literal sense.
But as the New York Times reported recently, some rabbis are suggesting this may all change in the near future. In fact, kosher Jews may soon be able to eat all the bacon cheeseburgers their hearts and stomachs desire.
The reason: cellular agriculture. Growing real meat without animals–also known as clean meat–is a way to produce meat that just may be considered kosher by rabbinic authorities. Yes, that includes meat from pig cells (aka pork) since the original cell is such a minuscule part of the actual pig.
Companies like Mission Barns, profiled in the New York Times piece, are working hard to grow not necessarily meat, but a single part of meat responsible for making it taste so good: fat. Unlike others in the space growing animal muscle cells, Mission Barns is growing real fat–including duck fat–that I can personally attest tastes, well, fat-tastic. (Sorry.)
These pioneers’ work will of course be good news for kosher Jews. But considering just how important such alternatives are for curbing climate change, food insecurity, animal cruelty, and other pressing social ills, their work may also help us usher in a world a little bit closer to Eden that the one we have today.