FDA declares champions of Tech-enabled Traceability Challenge

U.S – The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has eventually announced the winners of the “New Era of Smarter Food Safety Low- or No-Cost Tech-enabled Traceability Challenge” which was launched this year in June.

The challenge is part of a goal set forth in the New Era of Smarter Food Safety blueprint to encourage the development of creative financial models for low- to no-cost traceability solutions that would enable food producers of all sizes to participate in a scalable, cost-effective way. Tech-enabled traceability is one of the foundational core elements of the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative.

Achieving end-to-end traceability – the ability to track a food’s route from source to table – throughout the food supply system can help speed the response to foodborne illness outbreaks and deepen our understanding of what causes them and how to prevent them from happening again.

“I’m excited to announce that we have chosen 12 winners representing the U.S., Canada and New Zealand from the 90 submissions we received from all over the world. Winning submissions for this challenge are high-quality, impactful, cover a considerable range of use cases and use a variety of approaches, platforms and technical designs.”

Frank Yiannas, Deputy Commissioner, Food Policy and Response Tweet

This is so important because the cost of such technologies can be a barrier to adopting tech-enabled traceability systems. To achieve end-to-end food traceability throughout the food supply system, accessible solutions are needed that are affordable and can scale to encourage widespread adoption.

The winning teams are FarmTabs, Freshly, HeavyConnect, ItemChain, Kezzler, Mojix, OpsSmart, Precise, Roambee/GSM/Wiliot’s, Rfider, TagOne and Wholechain.

In order to participate, entrants had to provide, a completed submission form, a video describing the solution and demonstrating how it works, and a summary of the solution in PowerPoint presentation format addressing each of the five evaluation criteria.

Evaluation was carried out by a panel of judges from the federal government, both internal and external to FDA, with experience in the fields of technology, public health, and/or the food industry.

Yiannas underscored that this initiative illustrates the FDA’s commitment to effectually execute its mandate to help ensure that companies of all sizes, including small to midsize ones, can use and benefit from new tracing technologies.

He informed that digitizing food data at no- or low-cost through the use of creative economic models and innovative solutions allows the entire food system to get smarter together.

In addition to nominating top performing submissions, honorable mentions were given to those submissions performing highly in one or more of the following categories, “Addresses a Need”, “Innovation”, and “Ease of Use”.

The FDA is set to host a webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 28 for the winning teams to present their solutions and take questions during a live Question and Answer (Q&A) session.

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