The start up bringing lab-grown seafood to the dinner plate

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Finless foods want to bring seafood to the masses without having to farm or harvest live fish.

It takes a fair bit of bravery to get up and talk about making real fish meat out of stem cells to a packed room full of industry leaders at the Aquaculture Innovation Summit, but that’s exactly what the start-up CEO founder, Mike Selden, did yesterday at a packed meeting.

The biochemist gave a spirited talk on the future of food grown from from high-quality cellular stock. The company uses cellular biology to create fish and seafood products in a laboratory at affordable prices, without catching of farming the species on which they’re based.

Selden said that the company was starting with Bluefin tuna, a luxury product under severe threat from overfishing.

“Finless Foods we’re taking fish production back to basics and stripping it down to its raw components,” he told the crowd.

Considering that only 56% of fish meat is edible Selden wanted to look at building fish meat that was filled with nutrients built from cells.

In lab, the company isolates satellite cells from real fish can duplicate and be transferred to a bioreactor where they will grow into something resembling a real flesh fish “paste.”

After the talk, some attendees had some strong views (“it’s not when, it’s if”) and even predictions (“could it wipe out the whaling industry?”).

In closing, the founder left everyone with a quote from Winston Churchill: “With a greater knowledge of what are called hormones, i.e., the chemical messengers in our blood, it will be possible to control growth. We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.”

Selden was confident that his products would some day sit alongside seafood products. A recent USD 3.5 million seed funding by the investors Draper Associates will enable Finfoods to bring its first Bluefin tuna market by the end of 2019.