USA – Upside Foods has opened its cultivated meat factory in Emeryville, California, bringing cell-based meat closer to reality in the US market.
The 53,000-square-foot Engineering, Production and Innovation Center (EPIC) has custom-made, patented cultivators that can produce more than 50,000 pounds of finished product with future capacity of more than 400,000 pounds per year.
The facility is designed to produce any species of meat, poultry and seafood in ground or whole-cut formats directly from animal cells. It also has areas to mill and mix cell feed and to formulate, package and test products.
As a meat production facility, Upside Foods’ facility has several features common in traditional slaughtering and processing facilities.
It has a quality assurance room where products are tested to ensure they are safe and an office for federal inspectors to oversee the process, which was built to regulatory specifications.
The innovation center is also a key part of the new facility and includes equipment and space for research on improving processes and products.
The company will research growing cells of various species, different ways to make cell growth more efficient, and methods of making better final products, Upside Foods’ Chief Operating Officer Amy Chen said.
At full capacity, the site will employ approximately 50 in roles across production, maintenance, quality and food safety, engineering, and general plant management.
The opening of the innovation center marks a major milestone in the advancement of cultivated meat production, said Bruce Friedrich, founder and CEO of the Good Food Institute.
“EPIC demonstrates how much technology and innovation has advanced within the sector to allow the company to move beyond lab- and bench-scale to this phase of production and will bring about a new level of transparency to our food system,” he said.
EPIC is the first large, cultivated meat facility to be completed in the United States and could herald in a new era of meat production in the United States.
Most other cultivated meat companies are, at this point, only running purely small-scale R&D operations.
The only pilot plant that is of a similar size belongs to Israel-based Future Meat Technologies and opened earlier this year.
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