Editor in Chief, Food Safety Tech
In general, the food industry has been far behind other industries when it comes to implementing innovative technology. The adoption rate has been slow for a variety of reasons, including cost, resources, management buy-in, and the need to see a short-term return on investment. Last year, FDA announced an initiative, called the New Era of Smarter Food Safety, which could play a key role in promoting the adoption of technologies that enable more effective collaboration among all industry stakeholders.
“I believe that we’re in the midst of a food revolution,” says Frank Yiannas, FDA deputy commissioner for food policy and response, during the 2019 Food Safety Consortium. “Products will be reformulated… new food sources and production approaches will be realized, and the food system will become increasingly digitized.”
The technologies that emerge as clear winners will be solutions that provide the following benefits to the industry:
- Streamlining (and potentially automating) processes and systems
- Increasing efficiencies
- Promoting visibility and centralization in recordkeeping and documentation
- Providing full transparency and traceability throughout the supply chain
- Generating data that provides actionable results
- Facilitating consumer trust
In an age of resource and cost constraints, technology must help the industry work smarter and with agility. There is increased emphasis on implementing tools that can minimize foodborne illness outbreaks, while also providing the communication and data sharing necessary to allow companies and federal agencies to act quickly and communicate effectively when an issue that compromises consumer safety arises.
“In 2020, technology is going to begin to connect itself along the entire supply chain, bringing together disparate pieces and equipping supply chain professionals with action-oriented data,” says Sasan Amini, CEO of Clear Labs. “From testing advances that improve speed, accuracy, and depth of information to modular software solutions to promote transparency, the food safety industry is finally finding its footing in a data-driven sea of technological and regulatory advances.”
The industry is committed to developing technologies that make the global food supply safer. The significant move forward will be for these solutions to be proven effective and make their way into mainstream practice.