Emeryville lab Upside Foods aims to create real meat without killing animals

EMERYVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- Bay Area company Upside Foods opened a new lab Thursday designed to create real meat, but no animals will be present in this facility.

"We are trying to make the same food people have loved their entire lives a different way," said Eric Schulze, Vice President of Product and Regulation.

Upside Foods says workers will take cells from animal tissue and create the meat inside their lab. They say they have a staff of 150 workers including dozens of scientists working on this type of cultivation.

RELATED: Alice Waters discusses California food history and future of food education

"We take a small sample from an animal like a muscle tissue and we grow them here in our facility," Schulze said. "We feed them like normal, and we can grow a very large amount of muscle tissue from a small amount of cells and we feed them to people."

The company says they have already made food using this cultivation method. With their new lab, Upside Foods says the goal is to produce around 50,000 pounds of meat.

However, some other scientists are skeptical of this process. Ricardo San Martin runs the Alt Meat Lab at UC Berkeley, and he says the data doesn't lead to this method being sustainable.

"They want to make 50,000 pounds of meat, well one cow is around 450-500 pounds," San Martin said. "Can you grow them at scale with such numbers that it can compete with beef and fish or poultry, and the answer based on well known principles of bio technology and fermentation is that it doesn't look very good."

Upside Foods says they are confident they can meet the demand.

"The only things transported through our tubes are the cells and the meat," Schulze said. "Instead of growing a cow for 18 months before it hits the grocery store we can make the same meat in 14-21 days."

Their facilities and products also still need to get inspected by both the FDA and Department of Agriculture. Upside foods says they do not have a timetable for how long that will take. They said they built their facility to properly help government inspectors.

Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.