FDA names winners of food traceability challenge

The FDA has announced the 12 winners of its low- or no-cost food traceability challenge, looking for ways to digitise the distribution system so unsafe food can be rapidly identified, traced and removed from the market.

Tech-enabled traceability is one of the core elements of the FDA's recently-announced 'farm-to-table' proposals for certain higher-risk foodstuffs, which aims to capture batch/lot and other shipment level data as goods move through the supply chain.

It is part of the regulator's New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative. The winning teams, with links to the videos they submitted, are as follows:

  • provides item-level traceability to each participant in the food supply chain, from source to store and from farm to fork, using Avery Dennison systems and proprietary blockchain technology using Mastercard Provenance.
  • FarmTabs is free, downloadable software run on Microsoft Excel that helps small and mid-size farmers manage records for traceability and other farm-related metrics.
  • Freshly is traceability and batch-tracking software designed for small businesses, including retailers, manufacturers, and distributors. 
  • HeavyConnect provides cloud-based digital traceability and compliance documentation solutions, including an intuitive mobile app that allows producers to capture traceability data in the field and seamlessly share it across the supply chain.
  • Kezzler uses self-service portals to generate item-level identifiers and associate homogenized datasets at the grower level through simple mobile applications. 
  • Mojix uses industry standards to link traceability events for each individual item and/or lot throughout the food supply chain to enable a low-cost and collaborative open data network. 
  • OpsSmart provides an industry-proven, cloud-based traceability software solution to meet food safety, recall management, and traceability needs of a complex supply chain. 
  • Precise’s Traceability Suite delivers efficient end-to-end supply chain tracking to all segments of the food market by utilizing geospatial, machine learning, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. 
  • Roambee/GSM/Wiliot’s solution uses low-cost IoT sensor tags in combination with shipment visibility and verification technologies to provide end-to-end traceability from farm to plate. 
  • Rfider is software-as-a-service that simplifies capturing, securing, and sharing critical event data along supply chains all the way to consumers. 
  • TagOne uses a role-based data capture framework that updates an open source blockchain platform, leverages industry standards to ensure interoperability, and ensures ease of use and data security. 
  • Wholechain is a supply chain traceability system that utilizes blockchain technology, in collaboration with Mastercard, to trace products back to their original source. 

There were 90 submissions, with the winning teams representing the US, Canada, and New Zealand. Submitting teams also hailed from Australia, China, England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, and Taiwan.

"FDA wants to explore ways to encourage firms to voluntarily adopt tracing technologies and harmonise tracing activities, working toward outcomes that are achievable for all sectors of the system producing human and animal foods," said the agency.

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