Growing Sushi in San Francisco

Growing Sushi in San Francisco

Wildtype to open a tasting room for their lab-grown salmon

Growing Sushi in San Francisco

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the Food Tech Digest blog (or any news source for that matter), you should know all about overfishing. Did you know that fishers caught up to 167 billion fish for food back in 2017? Each year, more and more fish are being pulled from the sea for human consumption. It happens too often, and it’s hurting the number of fish in our ocean.

Of course, the easiest solution to a problem like this would be to stop eating fish, but if we’re being honest, that’s unlikely to happen (nor is it fair). But what if I told you there was a way to keep eating fish without even touching the water?

San Francisco based company Wildtype specialises in agriculture technology. More specifically, they’re working with cell-based agriculture to grow salmon for human consumption. But what does this mean? Throughout this blog, we’re going to take a look at what exactly Wildtype is doing, and why they’re shaping the future of seafood.

What is cell-based agriculture?

Growing salmon sounds like something from either a sci-fi or a horror movie depending on who you ask. The reality is, it’s really here, and no matter how it makes you feel, it’s here to stay.

The best way to become comfortable with the idea of lab-grown meat and fish is to understand what it actually is. Ignoring all the horror stories you might have conjured up just thinking about it, Wildtype’s salmon is exactly what it should be. Salmon.

Using cells from a salmon acquired years ago, Wildtype is growing specific cuts of fish by feeding it nutrients and affixing it to plant-based structures. The process can take up to three months to complete, which is surprisingly far shorter than the preparation and harvesting of fish caught from the ocean.

So there you have it. Wildtype’s lab-grown salmon is exactly that. Salmon. The next question is: is it safe?

Is Wildtype’s lab-grown salmon safe to eat?

Growing Sushi in San Francisco

The simple answer is yes. In fact, the salmon grown by Wildtype is safer to eat than fish caught from the ocean.

Due to pollution and general life in the ocean, fish caught can often carry a number of things. Parasites, toxins, microplastics, the list goes on. This isn’t a danger for fish grown away from that hostile environment. What’s more, all the benefits of eating fish at still there! The protein and nutrients are a part of the fish and are grown with the meat itself.

Beyond being healthy to eat, eating lab-grown meat is safe for other reasons. Leaving fish in the ocean creates a healthier ecosystem, leading to cleaner waters and a safer environment.

What next for Wildtype?

Plans to open up a sushi bar are underway, where Wildtype’s lab-grown salmon will be served. The San Francisco based bar will initially open up to students and chefs this Autumn, where tastings will show off the development and quality of the product.

The company is hoping to get approval to open up to the public from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration but doesn’t believe their work is done until they can make affordable lab-grown seafood. Either way, the future looks promising for Wildtype, and when this works out, also for the world.

If you want to learn more about developing sustainable food options, check out our blog on cricket farming today!

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