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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Upside Foods Promotes EPIC Center for Cell-Cultured Meat


As with many startup and aspirant companies claiming expertise in cell-cultured meat, Upside Foods formerly Memphis Meats is promoting their "Engineering, Production and Innovation Center (EPIC) located in Emeryville, CA.  The facility regarded as a pilot plant, is equipped with fermenters apparently capable of producing 50,000 pounds of product annually.  On initial glance this may be regarded as an impressive volume but represents an output of 140 pounds of product per day, given that fermenters operate 24/7 except for loading and unloading.  This quantity probably corresponds to the daily beef sales of any large urban supermarket.


Upscale Foods and its predecessor, Memphis Meats is obviously a legitimate, well-established concern with support from venture capital concerns and some large producers of conventional meat.  The fact that Tyson Foods or Cargill has invested in any specific company is not necessarily an endorsement of the technical or financial viability of cell-cultured meat. These companies are investing in the leading pioneers among about 70 world startups mainly to observe progress in technology and to assess future demand.  


Despite the hype and rosy projections for cell-cultured meat, there is neither an E.U. nor U.S. Federal approval for cell-cultured meat.  The previous Administration in a decision reminiscent of King Solomon and the baby of disputed parentage, inadvisably divided responsibility between the USDA-FSIS and the FDA. This will delay framing of regulations for at least two years given the Washington penchant for jurisdictional competition and the absolute lack of experience of either Agency in the technology of cell-cultured meat. The situation would have be different if approval were to be assigned to an established and functional unified and appropriately staffed Federal Food Safety Agency.

Copyright © 2022 Simon M. Shane