CASPER, Wyo. — A San Diego-based company has demonstrated a lab-grown fish product they say could alleviate pressure on fisheries.
“With demand for seafood at an all-time high, and supply in an increasingly precarious state, BlueNalu will offer a third option,” the company says. “By complementing the current supplies of wild-caught and farm-raised seafood, BlueNalu’s cellular aquaculture process will reduce pressure on fisheries, benefit human health, reduce animal suffering, encourage responsible food consumption and promote food security.”
BlueNalu plans to introduce cell-based seafood products into a commercial test market within two years. A culinary demonstration in December showed off one of those products.
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A chef prepared a number of dishes using the lab-grown yellowtail amberjack.
“During the company’s live product demonstration, BlueNalu Corporate Chef Gerard Viverito prepared fish tacos, seafood bisque, poke, and kimchi dishes, all using BlueNalu’s yellowtail product, demonstrating four different menu items that reflect dishes from Asia, Europe and North America,” the company says. “Chef Viverito described each recipe in detail to an eager crowd, as well as his experience and enthusiasm working with recipes that span choices on typical restaurant menus from appetizers to a soup to an entree.”
Viverito spoke to some advantages of cooking with the product.
“’As a chef, I’m extremely excited about cooking with a whole muscle, cell-based seafood product, as this represents sustainability in a whole new way,'” he said in the release. “‘I feel great about cooking with seafood that I know supports ocean health and species biodiversity.'”
“‘In addition, I don’t have to worry about bones, fish scales, filleting or having to throw away any unused fish parts.’”
BlueNalu CEO Lou Cooperhouse says the “whole-muscle” yellowtail portions are derived from fish cells and can be cooked like regular fish.
“‘Our medallions of yellowtail can be cooked via direct heat, steamed or even fried in oil; can be marinated in an acidified solution for applications like poke, ceviche, and kimchi, or can be prepared in the raw state,'” Cooperhouse says. “‘This is an enormous accomplishment, and we don’t believe that any other company worldwide has been able to demonstrate this level of product performance in a whole-muscle seafood product thus far.’”
He added that BlueNalu has also experienced success developing other lab-grown finfish species such as mahi mahi and red snapper.
“BlueNalu’s goal is to focus on species that are primarily imported or difficult to farm-raise, and work with partners in the seafood industry to bring its product to market,” the company says.
Chief Technology Officer Chris Dammann says the next step for the company is to figure out how to ramp up their production volume.
“Test-market readiness is an essential part of BlueNalu’s plans for commercialization that culminate in large-scale production facilities,” the company says. “Each production facility will meet Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines and comply with regulatory requirements determined by the FDA for food production.”