Food Tech

Islamic Scholars Declare Cultivated Meat Can Be Halal

Key Takeaways

  • Leading Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia have advised that cultivated meat can be halal if it meets specific criteria.
  • The global halal meat market was worth $202 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $375.05 billion by 2030.
  • GOOD Meat, an Eat Just, Inc. division, is working to align its production process with halal guidelines.
  • The ruling is a significant step for the international acceptance of cultivated meat, especially among the 25% of the world’s population that consumes halal.

GOOD Meat, the cultivated meat division of food technology company Eat Just, Inc., has received a landmark Shariah opinion that could significantly expand its market reach. A panel of esteemed Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia has advised that meat produced from cells, without raising and slaughtering animals, can be considered halal if it meets certain conditions. This development is crucial for the international acceptance of cultivated meat, as halal consumers comprise about 25% of the global population.

The Halal Meat Market

The global halal meat market was valued at $202 billion in 2021 and is estimated to reach $375.05 billion by 2030. With the Muslim population rapidly increasing, so too is their meat consumption. This ruling opens up a significant new market for companies like GOOD Meat, especially in regions with large Muslim populations like the Middle East.

Criteria for Halal Certification

The scholars reviewed documentation that GOOD Meat and legal advisors prepared detailing the production process of the company’s first product, cultivated chicken. They concluded that for cultivated meat to be considered halal, it must meet the following conditions:

  • The cell line must come from an animal permissible to eat, such as a chicken or cow.
  • According to Islamic law, the animal from which the cell line is extracted must be slaughtered.
  • The nutrients fed to the cells must be permissible and not include forbidden substances like spilled blood, alcohol, or materials from improperly slaughtered animals.
  • The cultivated meat must be edible and not harmful to human health, confirmed by specialists such as a country’s food regulatory agency.

Future Plans for GOOD Meat

Although GOOD Meat’s current chicken cell line and production process do not yet meet these criteria, the company plans to align its operations with the halal guidelines. “If cultivated meat is to help address our future food system needs, it has to be an option for the billions of people worldwide who eat halal,” said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of GOOD Meat.

Public Opinion and Environmental Impact

A recent poll conducted in six key Middle Eastern countries found that most respondents would switch to cultivated meat if it were halal and comparably priced. The study also highlighted that climate messaging effectively influenced purchase intent, aligning with Islamic principles of Khilafa, or guardianship of nature.

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