Aquaculture for all

Startup fights Florida’s proposed ban on cultured seafood

Biotechnology Lobsters Regulations +6 more

Upside Foods, the alternative protein startup whose products under development include cultured lobster, is seeking support in its campaign against two bills in Florida that aim to ban cultivated meat and seafood.

Upside Foods' Engineering, Production, and Innovation Center (EPIC) in California

The startup, which was previously called Memphis Meats, is developing a range of cultured meats and seafood, including lobster © Upside Foods

Upside, which acquired Cultured Decadence – a developer of cell-cultured lobster – in 2022 has voiced its concern that the bills will “criminalize the production, sale, or consumption of cultivated meat”. As a result, it is encouraging alternative protein supporters to “call Florida representatives to let them know about the dangers of cultivated meat bans”.

The company is one of two licenced to sell cultivated meat in the US and in 2022 opened a $50 million Engineering, Production, and Innovation Center (EPIC) in California, which they claimed as “the most advanced cultivated meat, poultry and seafood production facility in the world”.

Despite being headquartered in California, they fear that any ban in Florida could have significant implications across the US.

As the company explained in a press release: “We are deeply concerned about this legislation, as it directly impacts the growing protein biotech research, which has the potential to be an important part of Florida’s agricultural future.

“This legislation will hinder research, innovation and economic growth in Florida. The University of Florida currently conducts cultivated meat research and this legislation would send a big signal against that research.

“Banning the sale and manufacture of cultivated meat limits consumer choice and denies Floridians access to the foods they may want. We believe that choices about food should be made by consumers, not the government.”

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