Legislative committee takes testimony on companion protein innovation bills



(The Center Square) – A pair of companion bills proposing the formation of a special commission to study the economic benefits of alternative protein innovation technologies and techniques within Massachusetts received widespread support at a hearing Tuesday.

The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies held hearings on more than a dozen bills within the panel’s purview.

Nearly all who testified spoke to House Bill 402 and Senate Bill 229, addressing protein innovation.

Proponents supporting the bills were from several research organizations and institutions within Massachusetts and an emerging state-based company.

Noa Dalzell, state policy director with Food Solutions Action, said the commission could play a key role in formulating economic incentive opportunities for state-based companies to assist with sustainable practices.

“Massachusetts is a global hub for innovation in this space and has the potential to really be a leader when it comes to this industry,” Dalzell said of protein innovation. “We haven’t really had a robust dialogue in the State House around how we can ensure that this industry will be a continuation of our life science or biomedical leadership.”

Director of strategic engagement with Harvard University’s Wyss Institute, Robert Cunningham, said the bills could be a first step in the still-emerging biotech economy.

“We now see an opportunity to refocus what we are doing with biomedical tools,” Cunningham said. “We want to see this commission come to be so that we can maintain our leadership role. We do need to have some leadership within the State House to provide guidance.”

As the alternative protein space is emerging and research-intensive, several speakers said state resources and regulation-friendly practices will be key to innovation.

“Alternative proteins will require state support, building on investments by the Mass Clean Energy Center and MassVentures to continue growing the economy of Massachusetts and help the state and the world meet critical greenhouse gas emissions goals,” Elizabeth Kennedy, vice president of business development and strategy with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, said.

Christophe Chantre, co-founder and CEO of Somerville-based research and product development firm Tender Food, provided testimony to the committee from the vantage point of a local entrepreneur.

He said he intends to continue scaling up Tender Food, though he indicated wider expansion likely would have to occur outside Massachusetts’ boundaries, in the heart of the Midwest.

Several speakers said they believed the Legislature and state-based organizations and companies were morally obligated to invest in green-friendly innovation.

“Producing cultivated meat requires more than just engineering,” Glenn Gaudette, chair of Boston College’s Department of Engineering, said. “We need to take a human-centered approach and ask ourselves, ‘What does the world need from us?’”

Gaudette added, “As a society, we have an obligation to help all people. We must feed our growing population without destroying our environment.”

Read the Black Chronicle Black History Edition for Free! Click Below

Read the Black Chronicle Black History Edition for Free! Click Below



Share post:


More like this

Senate Rejects IVF Protection Bill

The Senate has voted against a bill aimed at...

New challenge to beloit school’s grow your own teacher program

(The Center Square) – There’s a challenge to the...

Spokane Sheriff asks county to renew bonus program amid low recruitment

(The Center Square) - Spokane County is at a...

North Carolina motorists dime better on diesel than month ago

(The Center Square) – Count North Carolina among many...