Posted 2 years ago | by Ben Armstrong
The Food and Drug Administration says new technology is the key for food safety.
On Monday, October 21, the FDA hosted a packed meeting in the Washington DC. Registration for the webcast option also met full capacity.
The meeting was to discuss traceability, evolving business models, smarter prevention tools, and other food safety issues. The November 2018 E.coli outbreak that effect romaine lettuce is one example that has spurred the FDA to consider innovative and creative ways to make sure food safety measures protects consumers.
Frank Yiannas, the FDA Deputy Commissioner says, "It's a new approach to food safety...one that builds on the progress made in the past, but also incorporates the use of new technologies that are being used. These include blockchain, sensor technology, the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence."
Yiannas continues by saying incorporating new technologies provides "Shared value for all stakeholders - farmers, food producers, regulators, consumers and the planet."
This drive towards new technologies is about understanding that food technology is in the midst of a revolution. Yiannas believes that the food industry will undergo more changes in the next 10 years. "As food safety professionals, we must be multidimensional, and we must adapt to the world around use to protect public health and facilitate innovation."
Yiannas is a champion for blockchain technology, and he calls it a "game changer for food safety". He expands his belief by saying, "The emergence of blockchain technology, because of its distributed and decentralized nature...enabled food system stakeholders to imagine being able to have full end-to-end traceability."
Blockchain technology would truly create a farm-to-table mindset even through a large grocery store. The blockchain technology would link food back to its farm of origin in a matter of seconds. The current process takes weeks to track. "This is what I have referred to as food traceability at the speed of thought!" says Yiannas.
The FDA is currently brainstorming ideas for how to make this New Era of food safety a reality. In early 2020, the FDA will publish a blueprint with a strategic plan for they will turn their ideas into actions. He echoes the statement of Dr. Sharpless by saying, "It makes sense to establish the New Era at the start of the new decade."