Assalamu alaikum,

As humans, we are responsible for the well-being of our planet. That responsibility encompasses taking care of each other, taking care of the animals and plants, as well as taking care of the planet as a whole. While we face many day-to-day as well as long-term challenges including, hunger; rapid population growth; disease; and so on, we have also been given the gift of reason and the capacity to think. We can develop solutions to all our challenges.

Hunger or malnutrition continue to be a problem across the globe. As the population grows, more agricultural land is being converted to housing. As the demand for food and nutrition increases, more is expected of our food production resources. When it comes to animal protein, larger herds/flocks and quicker maturities have raised questions about growth stimulation, optimal use of resources, and greenhouse gas emissions. Science can usually answer these questions and scientists are always looking for a better way to meet our needs with new technologies and methods. As halal certifiers, we must keep up with the science and address the question of halal compatibility of these new products.

One of the technologies is being referred to as ‘clean meat’. Currently, that is meat grown in a lab or a small pilot plant. This isn’t the plant-based protein produced from vegetables or grains and formulated to taste and look like meat. This is the genuine article produced from an animal cell, but grown in the lab and produced without requiring an actual animal to be slaughtered. While it may sound good, there are cost issues that must be overcome before this becomes a viable source of meat. Currently a number of enterprises are pursuing the production of meat, poultry, and even seafood in this manner. And they have produced and consumed some of the product; but at upwards of $6,000 a pound this ‘clean meat’ is a little beyond most consumer budgets. However, this cost has come down from the initial cost of upwards of $1,000,000 a pound. So there is hope the cost can one day complete with slaughtered meat products, without the side effects associated with growing, nurturing, and slaughtering animals.

As food scientists, this is an exciting endeavor; as consumers, it may give us additional options; but as halal certifiers we must study the processes and products determine if they meet halal requirements.

God has blessed humans with great mental faculties that can be used to develop a multitude of products to serve humanity. We need to put some of those faculties to work understanding the technology and processes and determining if they are compatible with the halal diet or not.


Muhammad Munir Chaudry, president