U.S – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working with Palantir Technologies Inc., an American software company that specializes in big data analytics, to help modernize the agency’s approach to the food supply chain and resilience through the 21 Forward Initiative. 

Palantir will serve as the main operating platform for proactive food supply chain disruption monitoring and crisis response under the U.S$22 million contract.

21 Forward, powered by the Palantir platform and a part of the FDA’s “New Era of Smarter Food Safety” blueprint, brings together multiple data sources from several government agencies, including the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to identify areas of the food supply chain where there will likely be disruptions. 

The 21 Forward initiative is run by the Office of Food Policy and Response (OFPR), which was created to apply a more contemporary approach to food safety for both domestically produced and imported goods.

“Now more than ever public health preparedness is central to our security and safety as a nation and we are honored to support our leading institutions with best-in-class technology to anticipate and plan for these events. 

“By leveraging technology, the FDA is investing in a foundational data-driven approach to improve outcomes for our country,” said Dr. William Kassler, Chief Medical Officer, Palantir.

21 Forward, which was first implemented as a pilot with Palantir in 2020, aimed to help users and important stakeholders dynamically understand and mitigate how domestic COVID-19 incident rates affected different parts of the food system and production. 

Most recently, it was used as a component of the federal response once the infant formula shortage reached a crisis point.

The scarcity caused by the formula recall highlighted the requirement for the centralization and integration of commercial and inter-agency data sources.

Following these two significant events over the previous two years, the FDA swiftly moved to expand this work after realizing the true impact a data-driven platform can have.

The information needed by decision-makers to respond to such emergencies is now provided via 21 Forward, which acts as a coordinating hub.

This agreement enables the FDA to address a wider range of food safety issues and concentrate not just on crisis management but also on identifying and organizing preventative measures in the event of food safety incidents.

The organization has been able to quickly set up a scalable infrastructure since collaborating with Palantir to support 21 Forward.

OFPR needed to have a setting for quick application configuration given the dynamic nature of public health supply chains.

Earlier this year, the platform was quickly established as the primary operational platform for supply chain analytics on infant formula.

The FDA will also make use of the investments it has already made in modernized infrastructure and take the lead with a cloud-first approach.

21 Forward is deployed in the Palantir Federal Cloud Service (PFCS), Palantir Technologies’ FedRAMP Moderate cloud environment.

The initiative’s hosting infrastructure and operations are a managed, standardized, tested, and externally audited Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that scales to meet demand.

For the FDA to receive the greatest levels of security, Palantir is certified compliant with the following frameworks and industry standards, including IL6 DoD SRG, FedRAMP, and SOC 2 Type 2 (Security, Confidentiality, and Availability).

Palantir is a proven leader in delivering mission-critical software across the public health supply chain and has extensive experience in both the public and private health sectors, claims the FDA.

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