Four Companies Shaking Up Food Safety

The CDC estimates that 48 million people get sick due to foodborne illness each year – but what if they didn’t have to? Can you imagine a world without foodborne illness? That’s the dream, right? Well, these four emerging technology companies are working hard to make that dream a reality.


Block chain is a buzz word in Food Safety right now – and there is no bigger company in blockchain technology than IBM. But what exactly is this technology? Blockchain is a record keeping technology. Every time an event takes place, blockchain writes it down and puts it inside a very secure block. When you put those blocks together, you have a secure, verifiable, chain of events. IBM has taken this technology and developed a new software solution specifically for food safety called IBM Food Trust. “IBM Food Trust™ is a cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution built on the IBM Blockchain Platform. It provides the highest level of commercially-available, tamper-resistant protection for food transaction data.”  With this technology, IBM is setting the new standard for food traceability.Using the Food Trust software, companies are able to speed up recalls by identifying the issue early and minimizing the time consumers are exposed to an outbreak. Food Trust has the ability to gather real-time data on all you company’s food products, providing a data-based approach to managing recalls. Frank Yiannas, Vice President of Food Safety at Walmart, describes it as “the equivalent of Fedex tracking for food.”


In 2017, KanKan developed an Artificial Intelligence-Powered solution for improving personal hygiene among food workers. This data intelligence program has facial AND object recognition technology that help improve food safety practices. In English? If a restaurant owner installed this software in their kitchen, the software would be able to detect food safety violations, who committed them, and record images of the violation for review. Essentially, it’s a red-light camera for the restaurant industry.


In May of this year, Hyper AI won a machine learning hackathon sponsored by Madrona Venture Labs. How did they do it? With an ingenious pitch to help the food industry using hyper-spectral imaging technology that can detect any anomalies in food – such as foreign object OR deadly bacteria. HyperAI is looking to secure funding from Madrona Venture Labs to develop the ai-based food scanning technology, which could be a game changer in improving the safety of our food.


GenomeTrakr is a pathogen identification network created by the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and the Office of Regulatory Affairs. The goal? Whole Genome sequencing on over 200,000 common foodborne pathogens. Every day we see cops use radar guns to easily catch people speeding on the highway by separating them from the cars going the speed limit. Whole genome sequencing works like a radar gun – surveilling the food supply for pathogens and allowing public health agencies to detect an outbreak early and act appropriately.

Technology is changing fast, and it shows no signs of slowing down. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Each month, we will bring you a new article on how technology is impacting the food industry. Want to find out more about how technology can improve efficiencies and help your company succeed? Click herefor more great articles from the tech team at Safe Food Alliance.


This article was written by Hillari Bynum, of the Safe Food Alliance

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