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Singapore's Islamic Council: Muslims can eat cultivated meat as long as all sources are halal

February 5, 2024

In the midst of the global movement toward more sustainable food options, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) has officially affirmed that cultivated meat is generally permissible (halal) for consumption by Muslims, provided specific conditions are met.

The fatwa, issued on 3 February, outlines that cultivated meat can be deemed halal if the cells used originate from animals permissible in Islamic dietary laws, and if there is no incorporation of non-halal elements during the production process.

Muis emphasized the potential of novel foods, such as cultivated meat, to be produced through environmentally sustainable methods, offering a practical means to contribute to overall environmental sustainability, in a statement.

The religious guidance concerning the consumption of cultivated meat products was developed in response to inquiries about permissibility for Muslims, particularly after the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) granted approval for the sale of such products in 2020, according to Muis.

Recognizing the emergence of novel foods, Muis found it imperative to establish a clear religious stance early on regarding the permissibility of consuming such foods.

To formulate this guidance, the Fatwa Committee, with the support of the Office of the Mufti, conducted thorough research on novel foods and cultivated meat. They engaged with various stakeholders, including the SFA, industry representatives, and scientists. Additionally, the committee visited a local manufacturing facility producing cultivated meat to gain first-hand insights into the production process.

Muis has expressed its commitment to collaborate with relevant government agencies, such as the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), and industry members to establish guidelines for the halal certification of cultivated meat.

The fatwa governing cultivated meat is rooted in Islamic principles that emphasize the preservation of human life and the protection of the environment. It also considers the legal principle that, unless proven otherwise, whatever is beneficial is permissible.

Muis clarified that Muslim consumers retain the autonomy to make informed choices regarding the patronage of halal-certified establishments or the consumption of halal-certified food products, including cultivated meat. Singaporean Muslims can decide whether to consume cultivated meat based on its halal certification.

Muslims interviewed by The Straits Times welcomed the move, citing the importance of ensuring that facilities used to prepare the meat adhere to halal standards. Some expressed concerns about the ethical aspects of extracting and cultivating animal cells for cell-cultivated meat.

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