Raw meats are generally treated like toxic waste in our kitchen. It is bought separately in packaging and once it touches our sink or counter, those surfaces have to be disinfected. This is because there are feces inside the meat that contain intestinal pathogen that carries the risk of salmonella, e-coli, etc. Meat has to be cooked to kill these pathogens or we might get sick. With meat 2.0, or better known as lab grown meat, in vitro meat or clean meat, there will be no intestines for the slab of meat to be part of. We just grow the muscle or parts that we want to eat!
Lab grown meat is created by taking small tissue from an animal. The tissue is filtered and isolated for cells that can be grown. It will then be provided warmth and oxygen, feed salt, sugar and protein in a cell culture. Basically, the scientists trick the cell into thinking that it is still in the animal. Then it will naturally replicate, grow muscle, fat and connective tissue, and turn into our food. Initially the challenge was to recreate meat that we are used to, therefore the labs were only producing burger patties and nuggets. However, very recently a lab has successfully created the first ever lab grown steak for consumption.
Is it halal? Based on discussions by contemporary authoritative Islamic jurists, the halal status of lab grown meat is determined by identifying the source cell and the culture medium used. The stem cell should be extracted from halal animals or halal slaughtered animals, and there should be no cross contamination with haram products. As long as these criteria are fulfilled, lab grown meat is considered as halal.
The demand for meat in the halal marketplace is growing by the second and the industry will not be able to match the global demand. This is accompanied by the ethical and environmental concerns that comes with industrial livestock production which endeavors to maximize production output and minimize production costs. This is controversial as farming for meat is neither sustainable nor ethical. At the current rate, even the fastidious PETA is supporting lab grown meat.
This has opened a new market for entrepreneurs to invest in meat production in a more ethical and sustainable way. Lab grown meat is the eco-friendly option that uses less land, water and energy. This is also in line with halal concepts and values that emphasizes ethical and humane treatment towards the animals. Several companies have invested in this revolutionary projects and they are ready for the market. Entrepreneurs should therefore consider and capitalize this huge opportunity in the halal segment.