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Finless Foods’ Mike Selden: “We Brew Fish Meat”

The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Mike Selden, founder of Finless Foods, to talk about growing fish flesh without the fish (3:15) how it works (4:30), turning mush into fillets (7:00), why he started the company (8:50), the scourge of sea lice (10:40), blind tuna (12:05), how to avoid the public relations mistakes made by the GMO industry (13:35), leaving a medical career for a startup (16:10), why banana candy tastes terrible (17:10), being an environmental activist (18:20), the nascent ‘clean meat’ industry (19:40), the synthetic biology revolution (22:00), the ingredients (23:50), vegetable “scaffolding’ (25:45), taking on Big Fish (26:40) why Europe will be a challenge (28:00), being transparent in marketing (30:00), fish brewery tours (31:45), why cost is key (33:10), the beginning of the end of industrial livestock (36:05), and banishing vegetarianism (38:00).

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Updated on August 05
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Key Smash Notes In This Episode

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Mike Selden’s company plans on being in restaurants by the end of 2019.

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According to Selden, his company can drop the price and give customers the choice if they would eat cheap tuna filled with mercury and plastic or their clean, slaughter-free bluefin tuna with no contaminants for the same price.

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The company takes a small sample of the meat around the size of a quarter from a real fish. Scientists will isolate the cells that meet the criteria. These will then be put into a bioreactor to give them the proper nutrients to grow. They will eventually become the cells that people want to eat with the same qualities of slaughtered meat.

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Yes. It’s not that they aren’t meat, but they’re only one component of meat. They can produce personalized diets for people with the product ranging from the fatty content to the lean meat content to have the full experience and will allow people to be excited about the product.

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Selden started this concept because he has always been considerate of animal welfare, and fish are what we kill in massive numbers. Fishing is an environmental and ecological disaster because it’s destroying ocean ecosystems and food chains.

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Fish cells are easy in many ways. Although you need to research and be aware of what the cells do, Selden and scientists can measure cells' input and output easier, keep conditions more stable, and can run tests with better statistics.

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Selden states that his company is trying to prevent from doing all the mistakes that the GMO industry made, in terms of not talking to people about it by putting things on the market without being transparent. Selden's company is approaching this as being environmental activists.

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They want foods that are safe, nutritious, and doesn’t have a heavy environmental impact. Finless Foods will do this in ways that organic foods don’t, and they have high confidence that this will be a highly nutritious choice that people will have available to them.

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No. According to Selden, there was a disease that wiped out all the bananas in the world in the 50s. So, the bananas that we eat now are actually from a different plant that we refer to as the banana. If you eat a banana flavored candy, you are not truly tasting the banana that we eat today.

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First, taking the cells that they want from a quarter of meat. Then, the cells are feed salts and sugars. Proteins are growth factors that signal the salts and sugars to build themselves more biomass and create another cell.

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He wants to be perfectly clear for consumers to know that what they’re buying is better. The level of nutrition can be changed and manipulated depending on what the customer wants. There will be no hormones, antibiotics, or animal cruelty, and much more with his products that provide a viable alternative.

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Selden thinks that we’ll look back at industrial animal agriculture and think about how we’re barbarians. We’ll be shocked and appalled that we did it because it’s bad and inefficient for the environment.

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They’re always talking about cars and power plants, but they overlook the massive impact of agriculture that environmentally affect our world. Selden hopes the public's concern will be more toward agriculture.

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They will be able to provide a minimal switch for people to still be able to get the price, taste, and nutrients that they want and are looking for.

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