Cloned Pork Is Kosher, Says Prominent Rabbi
A prominent Israeli rabbi has declared that if pork is cloned, that meat would be considered kosher and acceptable for Jews to eat. Rabbi Yuval Cherlow made this potentially controversial statement in an interview with an Israeli newspaper, and his reasoning is very solid. Believing that cloned pork (and other meats) could reduce animal cruelty, pollution from the meat industry, and worldwide starvation, Cherlow says he supports the concept and deems the cloned pork acceptable food for Jews.
“When a pig's cell is used and food is produced from the genetic material, the cell actually loses its original identity,” Cherlow told Yedioth Ahronoth. “Therefore it cannot be defined as a prohibited food.”
Historically, Jews who follow the laws of kashrut (also known as keeping Kosher) do not eat a number of animal products, among them pork and shellfish. While certain meats like beef, chicken, and turkey are considered fit for consumption, eating dairy products or drinking milk along with these meats is also prohibited under these dietary guidelines. So, no patty melts, and definitely no bacon, egg, and cheeses.
However, Cherlow said in this interview that any cloned meat would be acceptable to eat alongside dairy products. Because cloned meat has, in Cherlow’s opinion, lost its “identity,” it is exempt from the rules, many of which have to do with the presumed cleanliness of certain animals.
Exciting as this announcement may be to many Kosher folks, it’s not like you can ask your butcher for half a pound of cloned pork belly. Although the FDA officially approved cloned meat for consumption in 2008, they maintained that it’s highly unlikely people would find cloned meat or dairy in the grocery store anytime soon, and that these animals would be “used as elite breeding animals rather than as food themselves.” However, the FDA also ruled that producers are not required to label cloned meat as such, so there is a chance you may have already eaten it. Of course, that doesn’t help those who keep Kosher, as they would likely need concrete evidence that the meat they’re purchasing was cloned in order for it to be deemed fit.
Nonetheless, I guess if you can get your hands on some cloned bacon, Rabbi Cherlow thinks it’s OK to make a BEC on your matzo this Passover.