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Food for Thought

Posted on 11/19/2019 12:00:00 AM in Travel Trivia

Leading scientists in Israel are working towards a new kind of cruelty-free meat—not made from vegetables like the typical vegan variety—but rather, grown from cells in a lab.

Question: Where is the meat found in Israel’s most cutting-edge burger being raised?

Answer: A laboratory

Could it ever be possible for an ardent animal rights activist to scarf down a juicy burger without guilt? Yes, if Israel has its way. Three Israeli companies are leading the world in the creation of what has been dubbed “clean meat.” The moniker refers to lab-grown meat cultured from cellular material. One is focused on cell-grown ground beef, another on steak, and a third on poultry. They’re using the science of organ regeneration (engineering existing cells), to create meat that never lived, suffered, or died.

It’s a complicated process and their teams have been working tirelessly for the last few years to mimic not just the taste but the texture of the meats they’re replacing. Israel is no stranger to science innovation (see below) and so far, their competitors are few: the Dutch company which started the lab burger craze, and American companies trying to create eggs and leather.

The bigger questions for a nation with the world’s second-highest number of vegetarian per capita and millions of citizens who keep kosher is whether clean meat suits either population. Vegans are split; those wanting to avoid animal cruelty and environmental harm find comfort in clean meat, while others draw a strict line at animal cells being used at all. Some rabbis say, yes, clean meat is kosher, since the meat is cruelty free; and some even argue that it is neither meat nor dairy, which allows serving it with cheese (something not currently allowed).

Clean meat is winning fans far beyond the land of its pioneers. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has advocated for cutting global meat consumption by as much as 90% to help save the planet. With Israel’s help, eating a burger might become an actual virtue, instead of a guilty pleasure—but only as long as it’s clean.

9 More Times Israel Pioneered New Technology

  • Hamsters were not domesticated pets until Hebrew University of Jerusalem bred the golden variety in 1930

  • In the 1950s, an Israeli professor created cucumber hybrids that made them disease-resistant and better-suited for mechanical harvest

  • Drip irrigation, now used around the globe, was invented by an Israeli engineer who noticed a problem in a farm field

  • Biological (as opposed to chemical) pest control was pioneered by Israeli scientists who bred mites, spiders, and other insects to fight agricultural pests

  • The first cherry tomato, the Tomaccio, came from a collaboration between several Israeli labs

  • Reusable plastic trays, now ubiquitous, were originally created to collect dew for irrigating Israeli crops

  • A new technology allows the introduction of superior genetic material directly into seeds, raising their quality before planting

  • The first solar window was created by an Israeli company, offering power generation and energy efficiency in material that can be integrated into conventional construction

  • Old and new eras come together in the Judean date palm, the oldest extinct seed to ever be revived for use, and the first tree to result has now yielded seeds of its own

Discover an ancient land and its cutting edge present on your Israel: The Holy Land & Timeless Cultures adventure.

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