Muslims in Singapore will be allowed to consume lab-cultivated meat if the cells are from animals that are also halal, and the final ingredients do not contain any non-halal components.
Dr Nazirudin Mohd Nasir, the Mufti of Singapore, said that this decision is an example of how fatwa research has to evolve with modern technology and social change, according to a report by TODAY newspaper on Saturday.
He was giving a speech on Friday to launch a two-day international conference on Fatwa in Contemporary Societies.
In Islam, fatwas are religious rulings to guide the Muslim community on the various aspects of religious life and are formal interpretations of Islamic law by a qualified religious scholar known as a mufti.
Masagos Zulkifli, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs, also told reporters on the sidelines of the conference that the issue of lab-cultivated meat had been studied by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) since 2022.
“We can be one of the first countries in the world to actually lead in this field, not only producing cultivated meat but also ensuring it is halal for Muslims to consume,” TODAY quoted the minister as saying.
“Novel foods, which can be produced through more environmentally sustainable means compared to traditional agriculture and aquaculture, offer a practical way to contribute to environmental sustainability,” MUIS said in a media release on Saturday, 3 February.
It added that the religious guidance was developed because questions arose about its permissibility for Muslim consumption, after Singapore approved of the sale of cultivated meat products here in 2020, becoming the first country in the world to do so.
The conference was attended by deputy prime minister Heng Swee Keat and about 400 guests comprising international religious leaders, ambassadors, as well as religious and community leaders.