US FDA to Hold Meeting on Blockchain and AI in Food Traceability

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will hold a public meeting at which it will discuss its “New Era of Smarter Food Safety” initiative.

Per a Sept. 17 announcement, the FDA set up a meeting with a group of international stakeholders on October 21, 2019, to discuss public health challenges and the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act. Specifically, the FDA intends to establish “a more digital, traceable, and safer system” to protect consumers from contaminated food.

Efficient tracking of contaminated food

The initiative proposes to deploy technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and sensors to develop a digital food system, which will allow users to trace the sources of food products and assess associated risks.

The new approach was initially announced in late April by Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless and Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas. Per the announcement, emerging technologies could greatly reduce the time needed to trace the origin of contaminated food and respond to public health risks.

Food industry players are focusing on blockchain

Blockchain technology has the potential to transform and improve the food industry as many food retail and produce companies are making a pivot to its application. Just recently, Nestlé said it had to adopt a “start-up mindset” in order to push ahead with its challenging blockchain venture.

This summer, tech giant Oracle and the World Bee Project revealed the development of a blockchain-based sustainability assurance system for the honey supply chain. In addition to blockchain technology, BeeMark also plans to make use of data science to monitor environmental factors pertaining to the bees’ surroundings.

According to recent research conducted by the University College London center for blockchain and retail blockchain consortium, the grocery sector is currently responsible for nearly half of all distributed ledger technology-based supply chain projects.

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