SafeTraces and SGS Galson Deliver Groundbreaking veriDART™ Solution for Indoor Air Quality

The first and only liquid aerosol-based solution for verifying air ventilation and filtration engineering controls is available from SGS Galson

Date: December 15, 2020

PLEASANTON, Calif., Dec. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — SafeTraces Inc., the leader in next generation DNA-enabled technology solutions, announced that it is working with SGS Galson. This collaboration enables environmental consultants and end users within the built environment to purchase SafeTraces’ groundbreaking indoor air quality solution, veriDART™, through SGS Galson, the world leader in industrial hygiene analysis and monitoring solutions.

Infectious disease control experts, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), agree about the importance of airborne and aerosol-based transmission of SARS-CoV-2. The industrial hygiene and mechanical engineering communities, including the AIHA and ASHRAE, also regard air ventilation and filtration engineering controls to mitigate airborne exposure risk indoors as important. However, the current pandemic has highlighted a critical gap in the toolbox of mechanical engineers and industrial hygienists: a science-based, data-driven diagnostic solution for validating and verifying engineering controls in real-world indoor environments.

At the cutting edge of health science, building science, and data science, the veriDART by SafeTraces is the first and only diagnostic solution for verifying engineering controls for aerosol contaminants. Developed with the support of the National Institutes of Health and world-class experts at MIT and Stanford, veriDART leverages patented DNA-tagged particles that safely mimic the mobility of airborne pathogens to identify hotspots, assess ventilation and filtration, and verify remediations with empirical data. veriDART’s data analytics provide a level of scientific and empirical rigor often lacking in engineering control decisions that have significant occupational health and safety, as well as financial, consequences, both short- and long-term.

SafeTraces’ agreement with SGS Galson will focus on national and eventual global distribution of veriDART to meet overwhelming demand from multinational companies, commercial real estate owners, and public infrastructure managers, among others, amidst unprecedented indoor air quality challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Effective immediately, SGS Galson will offer veriDART as part of its comprehensive COVID-19 Recovery Assistance Services covering indoor air quality, surface decontamination, and worker hygiene.

SafeTraces’ CEO Erik Malmstrom stated, “COVID-19 has created an unprecedented occupational health and safety risk that has led to massive disruptions in the built environment. Those responsible for facility management and safety have lacked effective solutions for assessing and mitigating airborne exposure risk, which is key to keeping buildings open and safe during the pandemic and beyond. SafeTraces is excited to be collaborating with a world-class leader like SGS to meet the huge and urgent need for veriDART across the US and world.”

Lisa Swab, SGS Galson Laboratory Director, said, “A major aspect of our mission is to provide data to protect people from hazardous exposures.  Collaborating with SafeTraces by offering veriDART will immensely help our clients provide remediation solutions during these perilous time to the built environment.”

For more information on the veriDART by SafeTraces, contact info@safetraces.com, or visit www.safetraces.com.

This post originally appeared on PRN Newswire. Read it here.

Using the Power of DNA and On-Product Traceability to Exceed the Security of Conventional Packaging

Featured in TagOne’s BlogOne!

Written by Ulrike Hodges, COO of SafeTraces | December 4, 2020

With increasing urgency, consumers and regulators are demanding transparency and assurances from companies, manufacturers, and distributors regarding their safety practices and the authenticity of their products. To illustrate the magnitude of the issue, the U.S spends an average of $152 billion annually on foodborne illness related costs and an average of $10 million a year per food recall. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration responded by ushering in the New Era of Smarter Food Safety, highlighting critical shortcomings of the current system in rapidly tracking and tracing food: records being largely paper-based; lack of end-to-end product traceability; and limitations in data sufficiency, compatibility, and quality for identifying products along the supply chain. These shortcomings can result in loss of life, millions of dollars in avoidable product loss, and lasting damage to consumer trust.

There is a persistent gap between the physical product being tracked and traced, and paper and digital records in the supply chain, providing the opportunity for bad actors in the supply chain to manipulate paper-based records, product labeling and packaging, and to profit from the misrepresentation of products. Product integrity can also be compromised through unintentional adulteration of records and products, due to human error resulting from an overly manual, inefficient recordkeeping process.

The good news is that blockchain and other existing supply chain solutions and digital technologies have made significant advances toward enhancing traceability and ultimately product integrity and consumer safety. Yet, the question remains on how to link a product’s digital record directly to the product.

A groundbreaking technology that leverages the power of DNA addresses the gap between the physical product, packaging, and digital-based records. SafeTraces, an innovative technology company in Pleasanton, CA has patented and deployed the miniDART® solution in the food industry and pharmaceutical industry, where it integrates seamlessly into existing production and processing steps, such as bulk commodity transfer points at the farm-level, produce wax lines or automated bag-filling lines.

SafeTraces’ revolutionary process of DNA tagging combines short, non-coding, non-living DNA sequences into edible, invisible, FDA-Generally Recognized as Safe (FDA-GRAS), DNA tags that leverage GS1 standards. The flavorless DNA tags, called safeTracers®, are applied directly to food, an API, excipient, or finished dose, in parts per billion (ppb) or less. By adding safeTracers directly to a product, the miniDART provides an immutable, covert, physical link between the product and digital traceability solutions. Using a simple test kit, downstream partners can read lot-level information directly off the product in 25 minutes, thereby rapidly accelerating the time it takes to authenticate a product even after its packaging has been removed.

When compared to conventional traceability solutions, SafeTraces’ solution delivers superior performance, ease of use, and scalability. It enables manufacturers and downstream partners to empirically support farm-to-fork claims, strengthen transparency and sustainability stories with consumers, and mitigate cost and risk associated with recalls and adulteration.

 

– Ulrike Hodges, COO of SafeTraces

Ulrike Hodges is the COO of SafeTraces, a Bay Area-based technology company and leader in DNA-enabled solutions for safety, traceability, and environmental quality. By harnessing the power of DNA, SafeTraces’ solutions meet the increasing demands of customers in the built environment, pharmaceutical, and food industries. Visit safetraces.com or contact a representative at info@safetraces.com for more information.

 

This content originally appeared on TagOne’s BlogOne! Online. Read it here.

Managing Indoor Air Quality Amid COVID-19

Featured in Restoration & Remediation

Written by Mark Drozdov | October 7, 2020

As we seek to return to normalcy without a vaccine, COVID-19 confronts us with a troubling reality. We spend 90% of our time indoors in the U.S. and Europe, and scientific evidence indicates we are nearly 20 times more likely to be infected by the virus indoors than outdoors. COVID-19 has impacted many indoor settings such as schools, offices, churches, restaurants and bars, with prisons, meatpacking plants, and long-term care facilities being most affected due to high occupancy, poor ventilation and vulnerable populations.

Increasingly, scientists believe airborne transmission is a major route for the spread of COVID-19. Viral respiratory droplets released from coughing, sneezing, talking, and breathing can aerosolize into smaller particles, stay suspended in the air for hours, and travel significantly farther than six feet. A key scientific debate has been whether the virus is infectious in aerosols.

Though the virus is clearly detectable in aerosols, no one had been able to provide evidence  that it is “live” until the University of Florida. Skeptics of airborne transmission have been using this lack of evidence to challenge the importance of this mechanism. As the prominent aerosol scientist Linsey Marr said about the UF study, “If this isn’t a smoking gun, then I don’t know what is.” Even those who acknowledge aerosol’s infectiousness debate the relative importance of different viral transmission routes, including airborne or fomite, droplet or aerosol, direct or indirect contact, or a combination of mechanisms.

The role of airborne transmission of COVID-19 has a huge bearing on infection control in the built environment in two important respects. First, common approaches characterized by deep cleaning are incomplete and possibly misguided altogether. Second, masking and social distancing by themselves might be insufficient for mitigating airborne transmission.

Lisa Brosseau, a retired professor of public health, says that masks can limit larger particles’ spread, but they are less helpful for smaller particles. Aerosol mobility of over 30 feet, and suspension in air for hours can reduce the efficacy of six-foot social distancing mandates.

Image via Restoration & Remediation Magazine Online.

The fundamental question is what can and should we do to mitigate airborne transmission and create “safe” indoor environments amid COVID-19? One critically important and often overlooked area is engineering and Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) controls. The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) states, “Engineering controls that can keep infectious aerosols at very low levels indoors offer the greatest promise to protect non-healthcare workers and other vulnerable populations as we reopen our businesses and workplace.”

Similarly, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) states, “Changes in building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems can reduce airborne exposures.” It highlights the following HVAC strategies based on evidence-based literature:

  • Enhanced filtration that includes higher Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) filters over code minimums in occupant-dense and/or higher-risk spaces
  • Upper-room UltraViolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI), with possible in-room fans, as a supplement to supply airflow
  • Local exhaust ventilation for source control
  • Personalized ventilation systems for certain high-risk tasks
  • Portable, free-standing High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters
  • Temperature and humidity control

ASHRAE is careful to qualify its recommendations with the caveat that the system’s impact will depend on the source location, strength, and distribution of the released aerosol, droplet size, temperature, air distribution, humidity, and filtration. Each indoor environment is unique; conditions within each indoor environment are dynamic, and there is not a one-size-fits-all strategy for infection control.

Emerging technology by SafeTraces to evaluate engineering and HVAC systems for infection control. Image via Restoration & Remediation Magazine Online.

The complex and evolving nature of the airborne transmission risk has resulted in two broad categories of responses for engineering and HVAC controls. The first is that owners and operators, particularly those responsible for mission-essential businesses, have spent significant financial resources on many of ASHRAE’s recommended strategies and beyond. The second category is many other owners and operators have done little due to being overwhelmed, confused, resource-constrained, or merely taking a wait-and-see approach.

Empirical data that allows people to understand the current level of risk and remediation usefulness is absent from most decision-making processes. ASHRAE, AIHA, IICRC and other leading authorities base their recommendations on evidence-based methodologies and peer-reviewed research.

Extrapolating academic studies results to any specific indoor environment has significant challenges and limitations, especially for a novel virus like SARS-CoV-2. ASHRAE and AIHA acknowledge as much, urging the involvement of knowledgeable mechanical engineers and industrial hygienists familiar with a building and, in some cases leveraging computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling.

However, mechanical engineers and industrial hygienists have candidly and consistently shared with us their concerns around infectious aerosols. Simply put, existing diagnostic solutions for indoor air quality, including tracer gases, smoke or bubble testing, and monitors or sensors may be insufficient for assessing the risk posed by an airborne pathogen like SARS-CoV-2.

The good news is that emerging technologies at the cutting edge of building, health, and data science are posed to fill this gap. One notable solution is veriDART, developed by the Bay Area-based technology company SafeTraces with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) support. This groundbreaking technology safely mimics the airborne pathogen’s mobility with proprietary tracers based on the chemical composition, fluid dynamics, and detection methods of human saliva and aerosols that comply with OSHA, NIOSH, and ACGIH exposure limits. The key is to enable owners and operators to identify hotspots, assess filtration and ventilation, and inform remediations with empirical data, heatmap visualizations, and time-series analyses.

The challenge is how it efficiently support safer office reopening and emergency response at sites, yielding valuable data for what could be very costly engineering and HVAC control decisions. For example, a Fortune 500 company used veriDART for both a survey risk assessment of their 500,000 square foot office building and targeted risk assessments of their restrooms, conference rooms, and other perceived high-risk locations. A major focus area of testing was dilution ventilation, which ASHRAE and AIHA cite as an important engineering control for reducing an occupant’s exposure to airborne viruses.

It was established by veriDART data-driven time and condition parameters for tracer dilution to the diagnostic indicator level of low risk. Interestingly, the number of effective air changes per hour had a uniform effect on tracer dilution within a room, but non-uniform across rooms of similar size, HVAC configuration, and test conditions. The customer’s implication was clear: they needed to be careful about not over-generalizing their engineering and HVAC controls across the entire building.

veriDART solution measures time and HVAC setting parameters for dilution ventilation of aerosol particles. Image via Restoration & Remediation Magazine Online.

Additionally, test results indicated mechanical issues, including exhaust systems not functioning properly and unexpected airflow between high-trafficked areas. In many cases, test results confirmed engineering and HVAC controls performed as expected. Ultimately, the user leveraged data to baseline their risk and inform tactical decisions regarding space utilization SOP’s, filtration enhancements, and procurement of airborne interventions prior.

Engineering and HVAC controls represent one of the most important opportunity areas for mitigating viral spread. However, there is no silver bullet strategy given each building’s uniqueness and constantly evolving conditions within the building. As management guru Peter Drucker famously said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Assessing your risk through regular environmental monitoring and data-driven technology solutions will be hugely consequential for occupant health and safety, organizational productivity and liability, and development of infection control strategies that are both effective and financially sustainable.

This article originally appeared on Restoration & Remediation Magazine Online. Read it here.

References:

  1. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.02.28.20029272v2
  2. https://www.pnas.org/content/117/26/14857
  3. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2763852
  4. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.08.03.20167395v1
  5. https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/07/11/1005087/coronavirus-airborne-fighting-wrong-way/
  6. https://aiha-assets.sfo2.digitaloceanspaces.com/AIHA/resources/Guidance-Documents/Reducing-the-Risk-of-COVID-19-using-Engineering-Controls-Guidance-Document.pdf
  7. https://www.ashrae.org/file%20library/about/position%20documents/pd_infectiousaerosols_2020.pdf
  8. Ibid.
  9. https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.iicrc.org/resource/resmgr/images/resources/COVID-19_Professional_Cleani.pdf

Welcome to a New Era of Food Safety

Written by Thomas Skernivitz | October 1, 2020

This article originally appeared on Growing Produce. Read it here. 

The miniDART technology from SafeTraces applies edible, invisible, DNA-based tags directly to fruit and other produce. Photo courtesy of SafeTraces

Food traceability companies will remember the summer of 2020 for more than the coronavirus and lockdowns.

On July 13, the FDA announced its new approach to food safety, the goal of which is to bend the curve of foodborne illness in the U.S. by reducing the number of illnesses. The organization had planned to announce the initiative in March but was forced to turn its attention to addressing the public health emergency posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The New Era of Smarter Food Safety leverages technology and other tools to create a safer and more digital, traceable food system. The blueprint seeks out simpler, more effective, and modern approaches and processes.

Tasked with educating growers on the FDA program and its significance are food traceability companies such as iFoodDecisionSciences (iFoodDS), rfxcel, and SafeTraces.

“Produce growers, packers, and shippers need to meet and exceed the performance of conventional packaging and requirements of the initiative,” Ulrike Hodges, the COO of SafeTraces, says. “As consumers and regulators demand higher food safety standards and visibility into supply chain practices, on-product traceability can provide them and their customers much needed assurance of the safety and authenticity of food products.”

The FDA is focusing on four core elements that it believes could significantly reduce foodborne illness in the country: tech-enabled traceability; smarter tools and approaches for prevention and outbreak response; new business models and retail modernization; and food safety culture.

“Industry- and regulator-led efforts and standardization will set the rules of the road for the key data elements (KDEs) and critical tracking events (CTEs) that must be captured,” John McPherson, Director of Global Solutions with rfxcel, says. “For the growers/harvesters, we think that data-capture innovations will allow field-level/harvest data to be leveraged for traceability, data analytics, and many other business uses. Growers who adopt digital strategies today will be not just ahead — they will be the ones that survive. “There will be a new era of food safety.”

THE NEED FOR SPEED

Every shipper’s traceability data should be in the cloud, according to iFoodDS Vice President Minos Athanassiadis.

“The PTI (Produce Traceability Initiative) standard of ‘one up one back’ traceability is too slow to respond to future outbreaks because the fresh fruit supply chain is complex, and the traceability data is locked up in data silos within each organization across the supply chain,” Athanassiadis says.

Hodges concurs: “The lack of complete, rapid, and accurate traceability systems significantly impedes the speediness and effectiveness of traceback investigations during outbreaks and recalls. They also fail to effectively support global sustainability initiatives and prevent food fraud, undermining the public’s faith in global and even domestic food supply chains and creating financial harm to growers and manufacturers.”

Growers should realize that digital supply chains and the benefits they offer are within their reach, McPherson says. New innovations in product labeling, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, radio frequency identification (RFID), and Bluetooth are being built to scale at the levels that growers work in. “Such innovations mean that the cost and implementation are easier to see as an investment, not as an expense,” McPherson says.

iFoodDS is working with packer/shippers to not just be PTI case-labeling compliant but also be PTI compliant in tracking their pallet shipments with Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) pallet tags and submitting advance ship notices (ASNs) to their customers for instantaneous trace forward.

“We are also encouraging the grocery retailers to make the most of our industry’s investments in PTI traceability by tracking cases at the DC (distribution center) and on to the store level,” Athanassiadis says.

END GOAL

Growers continue to make strides in digitizing their supply chains, McPherson says, but they need to continue evolving their operations to meet new demands of the marketplace. This includes complying with the PTI as well as potential new requirements from the FDA under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

“The FDA has been candid about wanting supply chains to be more digital and transparent, and growers will need to consider breaking down supply chain data from current silos and having a unified approach to that data,” McPherson says.

Adds Hodges: “Without incorporating end-to-end traceability back to the source in the produce industry, produce growers, packers, and shippers fail to meet consumers’ needs for food transparency, legal requirements, and potentially increase their risk in the event of an outbreak or recall.”


TECH ROUNDUP

iFoodDS (Kenmore, WA) — The company on May 6 acquired Trimble’s food traceability and quality inspection business, HarvestMark. “We now provide growers and shippers with comprehensive real-time food safety records along with the state-of-the-art traceability,” Athanassiadis says. “This means that, for the first time, we’re linking real-time food safety information, not annual or quarterly audits, with every case of fruit going out the door, to be able to instantaneously access and respond to food safety and trace requests.”

rfxcel (Reno, NV) — The company boasts products that growers can use to digitize — from mobile and web to sensor/IoT tech — all run from the cloud, McPherson says. “We have deep experience creating a single-source of truth for every item in a supply chain, then sharing that data with trading partners to be compliant with current and future needs, such as blockchain integration,” he says. “Our experience working with federal regulatory bodies is another big advantage we bring to our customers.”

SafeTraces (Pleasanton, CA) — The company’s miniDART technology speaks to the problem of packaging that bears conventional barcodes and other digital identifiers being removed or damaged during normal supply chain transactions. The product uses unique edible, invisible DNA-based tags (FDA-GRAS) that are applied directly to the fruit during normal processing and can be read by a downstream purchaser with a rapid, inexpensive, onsite test to verify product source and authenticity in 25 minutes.

 

This article originally appeared on Growing Produce. Read it here.

Corvium and SafeTraces Launch Partnership

Corvium and SafeTraces Partner to Automate Management of Sanitation Verification Diagnostic Testing for Food Supplier Organizations

Date: June 29, 2020

RESTON, VA. (PRWEB) 

Corvium Inc., the leader in automation of food risk intelligence, announced today that it is partnering with SafeTraces, Inc. leaders in next-generation DNA-based technology solutions. The partnership will enable food suppliers and processors to schedule, manage and deliver diagnostic testing and results from SafeTraces groundbreaking rapid sanitation verification solution, saniDART™, through CONTROL-PRO™– Corvium’s automated environmental monitoring platform.

Available today, SafeTraces customers can seamlessly integrate their current EMP process into Corvium’s award-winning solution that is used by more than 100 food supplier operations in North America. The integration will allow customers to schedule, manage and analyze results collected with the saniDART solution — the first rapid solution for verifying sanitation effectiveness at a microbial level to receive certification from the AOAC Research Institute (AOAC-RI). Corvium’s CONTROL-PRO manages the entire process, from scheduling and mapping test locations, to automatically collecting results and presenting sanitation verification results within a single web-based platform that can be accessed through any browser-enabled device.

“The key to enabling a new era of smarter food safety is technology” says Erik Malmstrom, SafeTraces CEO. “SafeTraces has responded to the food industry’s need for better, faster, and more cost-effective solutions for sanitation verification and traceability by harnessing the power of DNA technology. Similarly, Corvium has delivered best-in-class software and data technology for environmental monitoring. Our two platforms together provide tremendous value to customers and make the new era of smarter food safety a reality.”

“The food safety, quality and sanitation functions within the food and beverage industry are experiencing a digital transformation”, states David Hatch, Corvium’s Chief Growth & Partnership Officer. “Organizations are seeking to integrate and consolidate the technologies and devices that help streamline their environmental testing processes. The partnership with SafeTraces meets this need with the integration of SafeTraces saniDART™, the most innovative sanitation verification solution available today, to Corvium’s food risk intelligence platform, and the CONTROL-PRO EMP workflow and analytics application. This provides customers with one system on which all of their EMP, Product Testing and Sanitation workflows can be managed, visualized and analyzed.”

About Corvium Inc.
Corvium’s mission is to use data to make the world a safer place to eat. Our food risk intelligence platform continuously aggregates and analyzes risk and quality data generated during food production and distribution. Corvium’s fully integrated solution is used by food safety professionals and executives to streamline and optimize product testing, environmental sampling, and sanitation workflows. Our workflow and analytics technology helps food producers and processors prevent pathogenic contamination, comply with federal regulations and internal safety and quality programs, while reducing food safety risks and food waste. To learn more about corvium, visit their website: https://corvium.com.

About SafeTraces, Inc.
Founded in 2013, SafeTraces is a mission-driven team of entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, and food safety practitioners dedicated to using nature’s DNA to make food production safer, more transparent, and more sustainable. Our rapid, easy-to-use, and cost-effective testing solutions for sanitation verification and traceability build on groundbreaking and patented DNA-based technology. We developed the first and only on-food traceability solution, the miniDART, which leverages natural, edible, invisible, DNA-based barcodes (FDA-GRAS) that are applied directly to the product and that downstream purchasers can read with a rapid, inexpensive test in order to verify product source, authenticity, and purity in minutes. Additionally, we developed the first rapid solution for verifying sanitation effectiveness at a microbial level, the saniDART, that uses FDA-GRAS, AOAC-certified abiotic bacterial surrogates in order to enable in-process corrective actions, evaluate sanitation crew accuracy and proficiency, and support environmental monitoring, continuous improvement, root cause analysis, in-house validation, and FSMA and SQF audits. To learn more, visit their website at https://www.safetraces.com

 

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SafeTraces saniDART™ Receives AOAC Approval

saniDART Receives AOAC Approval

Date: April 2, 2020

PLEASANTON, Calif.April 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — SafeTraces, Inc. announced today that it has received approval from the AOAC Research Institute (AOAC-RI) for its groundbreaking rapid sanitation verification solution, saniDART™.

SafeTraces’ saniDART™ is the first rapid solution for verifying sanitation effectiveness at a microbial level to receive AOAC certification. saniDART addresses major shortcomings of two commonly used methods for verifying sanitation effectiveness in food production, the Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) test and the Aerobic Plate Count (APC) test. The ATP test measures the effectiveness of the sanitation processes in removing organic matter but is not a reliable indicator of bacterial inactivation. Meanwhile, the APC test is a reliable indicator for bacterial inactivation, however the 48-hour wait period for results precludes making in-process corrective actions. saniDART is a powerful tool for monitoring bacterial inactivation with APC-like test quality and results available at a speed closer to that of ATP tests.

“Now more than ever, consumers and regulators are demanding high standards and visibility into food safety practices throughout the supply chain,” said Erik Malmstrom, SafeTraces Chief Executive Officer. “There is a significant unmet need in the food industry for a better, faster, and cheaper solution for sanitation verification at a microbial level. SafeTraces responded and innovated, which is what we do best. Receiving AOAC validation, the gold standard for proprietary testing methods in food safety, is a major milestone for saniDART™. We look forward to delivering this groundbreaking solution to the food industry in a big way.”

Results in the AOAC validation report (Performance Tested Method #032001) provided evidence that saniDART is effective at detecting the presence of saniTracers™, proprietary abiotic bacterial surrogates and a key component of saniDART, on stainless steel surfaces representative in food processing and manufacturing facilities. saniTracers are manufactured by encapsulating short, non-coding DNA sequences within food-grade material particles and are applied on food contact surfaces in processing facilities, including Zone 1. saniTracers are degraded and removed in a similar manner as microbes during cleaning and chlorine-based sanitizing. saniTracers levels can be quantified by a simple swabbing and on-site qPCR test that provides results in 25 minutes. By measuring saniTracers levels before and after sanitation, saniDART provides powerful, actionable information in a pass/caution/fail format for verifying sanitation effectiveness.

The saniDART rapid sanitation verification solution includes saniTracers consumables, test kits, an off-the shelf qPCR reader, and a tablet with a cutting-edge augmented reality (AR) feature to identify sampling points in food processing facilities. saniDART is supported by market-leading environmental monitoring software to manage floor plans, scheduling, corrective actions, reporting, and analytics.

AOAC International (formerly the Association of Analytical Chemists) is an independent, third-party, not-for-profit organization that develops standards on measuring and determining the safety and integrity of food and other products worldwide. An AOAC-Research Institute (AOAC-RI) validation means that the manufacturer’s claims have been verified by a trusted third-party laboratory.

Founded in 2013, SafeTraces is a mission-driven team of entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers, and food safety practitioners dedicated to using nature’s DNA to make food production safer, more transparent, and more sustainable. Our rapid, easy-to-use, and cost-effective testing solutions for sanitation verification and traceability build on groundbreaking and patented DNA-based technology. We developed the first and only on-food traceability solution, the miniDART, which leverages natural, edible, invisible, DNA-based barcodes (FDA-GRAS) that are applied directly to the product and that downstream purchasers can read with a rapid, inexpensive test in order to verify product source, authenticity, and purity in minutes. Additionally, we developed the first rapid solution for verifying sanitation effectiveness at a microbial level, the saniDART, that uses FDA-GRAS, AOAC-certified abiotic bacterial surrogates in order to enable in-process corrective actions, evaluate sanitation crew accuracy and proficiency, and support environmental monitoring, continuous improvement, root cause analysis, in-house validation, and FSMA and SQF audits. To learn more, contact us at https://www.safetraces.com/product-inquiry.

SOURCE SafeTraces, Inc.

This post originally appeared on PRN Newswire. Read it here.

SafeTraces Awarded Thrive Top 50

SafeTraces Awarded THRIVE Top 50

Date: March 26, 2020

PLEASANTON, Calif. (March 26, 2020) – SafeTraces is honored to announce that it has been ranked in the “THRIVE Top 50” by SVG Ventures — an annual ranking of leading global AgTech and FoodTech companies exemplifying the best in agriculture and food-focused innovation — for the third consecutive year in recognition of its leadership in food safety and traceability solutions. 

Amid sky-high concerns about COVID-19 as well as on-going risks to food safety and authenticity, consumers are demanding greater visibility into food chains and corresponding safety measures from food companies. According to an extensive global Nielsen study, “the product benefit consumers were most willing to pay premium for were those with high quality assurances and verifiable safety standards,” with 49% of consumers globally saying that “they were highly willing to trade up in price for this benefit.”

Recognizing an unmet need in the food industry, SafeTraces developed the first and only on-food traceability solution called safeTracersTM – edible, invisible, FDA-GRAS, DNA-based barcodes that are applied directly to food and that a downstream purchaser can read with a rapid, inexpensive, on-site test. safeTracersTM are especially valuable in food chains with elevated risk of pathogenic contamination, counterfeiting, and environmentally destructive sourcing practices, where rapidly verifying product provenance and authenticity is vital and where traditional packaging and paper documentation-based methods of tracking and tracing have proven to be ineffective, slow, and vulnerable to tampering and error.

Additionally, SafeTraces has developed a groundbreaking, AOAC-certified rapid sanitation verification solution, saniDART™, to quantify the microbial load reduction of cleaning and sanitation on Zone 1 surface in food processing facilities through the use of FDA-GRAS, non-living bacterial surrogates. While traditional solutions often require sending samples to a third-party lab and waiting days for results long after product has left a food processing facility, saniDARTTM provides results on-site within 20-25 minutes, enabling food processors to make in-process corrective actions and ultimately mitigate the risk of contaminated product reaching consumers.

“It is an honor to be recognized with the THRIVE Top 50 Food Tech award for the third year in a row,” says SafeTraces CEO, Erik Malmstrom. “Now more than ever, consumers are demanding food safety and traceability from their food companies, rewarding leaders and punishing laggards. As the global food system evolves, we are here to empower industry actors with market-leading technology and data to ensure that they are delivering the safest, most authentic, and most sustainably sourced food to their consumers.”

Over the past year, SafeTraces has significantly expanded its market reach into food chains exposed to significant risks related to food safety, fraud, and sustainability — including produce, bulk commodities, and protein. SafeTraces has partnered with leading food companies and technology solution providers in order to advance the mission of food traceability and safety.

About SafeTraces

Founded in 2013, SafeTraces provides the only patented on-product food safety solutions that protect the food industry and consumers from food recalls, adulteration, and fraud. The company is committed to providing complete, low-cost solutions that deliver results in minutes. Its traceability solutions enable customers to gain full transparency, protect their brand, and reduce processing and recall costs. SafeTraces sanitation verification solutions provide insight into the effectiveness of the sanitation process – on-site and in minutes. The company is led by an expert team of entrepreneurs, scientists, and engineers dedicated to using nature’s own DNA to make food production safer, more transparent, and sustainable. Learn more about SafeTraces at www.safetraces.com

 

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The Companies Trying To Track Everything We Eat

Featured in Fast Company

Date: September 8, 2019

For a startup founder, Charlie Sweat carries a particularly heavy burden. In 2006, he was CEO of Earthbound Farm, the California-based farm and factory that produces the majority of the country’s packaged organic salads, when an E. coli outbreak struck the company’s spinach. Three people died, and 200 more were sickened. The source, investigators later surmised, was likely at the source of the spinach: an Angus cattle ranch that had leased land to a spinach grower.

The experience left Sweat unnerved, but it gave him an idea, too. Preventing outbreaks was a matter of knowing where the tainted food came from. But for legacy food companies, supply chain transparency is a daunting task, complicated by a vast number of suppliers, plants, distributors, and products. Different producers use different tagging systems and different sensors to track different things. Piecing together the details of what comes from where and goes where from seed to table had never really been done successfully before. If it could be, the implications for both public health, corporate transparency, and anti-counterfeiting efforts would be huge: Between food and pharmaceuticals, the market for tracking technologies is expected to grow to an expected revenue of $14.1 billion by 2020, according to a report by Allied Market Research in 2014.

That year, Sweat stepped down from Earthbound, capping a 16-year stint at the company, but he took his idea with him. A few months later, with money from the owners of Earthbound, friends and family and investors, he founded Frequentz, a Palo Alto-based startup that touts a comprehensive “track-and-trace” system for food safety—like FedEx tracking, but for each piece of the food supply chain, from seed to table.

Sweat says that by uploading and integrating any kind of data collected from any kind of tag or sensor, the system can discover the source of a food-borne pathogen, be it a contaminated farm or a broken refrigeration unit. The data could not only help companies identify inefficiencies on their supply chain, but also meet a rising crop of food safety regulations, and help satisfy our growing hunger for more transparency about the foods we eat. Named for the frequency of updates required for a transparent food supply chain, Frequentz aims to slash the number of food-borne illness outbreaks—and make a killing among efficiency- and transparency-conscious food companies.

“Since it is possible now to know everything about your product, the stakes are much higher if you haven’t done everything you can to validate what you sell,” says Sweat.

The food safety problem alone is immense and costly. Last year, Food Safety magazine counted 622 food safety recalls globally due to contamination, with each recall estimated to mean losses on average of $10 million. Food-borne pathogens affect as many as 48 million Americans a year, and according to research by Robert Scharff, an associate professor at Ohio State University, the annual cost of medical treatment, lost productivity, and illness-related mortality is $55.5 billion.

There’s also the threat of illegal practices like unregulated fishing or adulteration, in which suppliers might add something to food to lower their costs. Said to be most prevalent in liquids such as olive oil and in powders such as spices, this form of fraud is estimated to cost the industry $10 billion to $15 billion a year. In one example last year, ground cumin had been covertly mixed with peanut protein, prompting about 20 recalls and leading the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to issue a consumer warning.

The Frequentz software, custom-designed for each client, depends in part on a growing transportation “internet of things,” including sensors on food crates, in trucks, and on packages. It’s built to accept mobile data from sensors measuring the condition of produce, such as freshness and temperature, as well as scanners picking up packing label data and geographic coordinates. Unlike its handful of competitors, including HarvestMark and FoodLogiQ, Sweat says Frequentz has been designed to combine any data collected from any sensor.

Data from even the smallest farms and fishing vessels can be uploaded on the fly. Eventually, says Sweat, consumers at supermarkets will be able to access that data on their smartphones, including whether a product is fair trade, was harvested or made by workers earning living wages, or contains GMOs or gluten.

 

This post originally appeared in Fast Company. Read it here.

UL and SafeTraces Transform Palm Oil Sustainability Practices

UL and SafeTraces Transform Palm Oil Sustainability

Date: August 1, 2019

PLEASANTON, Calif.Aug. 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — UL, a leading global safety science company, today officially announced a strategic partnership with leading traceability solutions provider, SafeTraces. This collaboration launches a ground-breaking traceability solution, combining SafeTraces state-of-the-art, DNA-based traceability solutions and UL’s scientific leadership and trusted supply chain verification capabilities. The solution offers businesses a transformative and efficient approach for palm oil traceability and purity assurance and helps to alleviate significant and increasing pressure to deliver on commitments to enhance sustainability practices.

While the 2017 Ceres’ Reporting Guidance for Responsible Palm notes serious issues around palm oil production such as tropical deforestation, increases in greenhouse gas emissions, and worker’s rights infringements, discontinuing the supply and use of palm oil altogether is not the answer. Palm oil production is an essential contributor to the economies of many countries, and the production of alternative, less efficient oils would result in more deforestation. Global efforts to prevent environmental and labor abuses commonly associated with palm oil production have failed to keep pace with consumer demands for sustainable sourcing. The appropriate and most effective response to the problem is a consolidated effort from all stakeholders to produce and source sustainable palm oil across the entire supply chain.

UL and SafeTraces are solving critical challenges and removing barriers to access markets by offering brands a uniquely robust and innovative solution to the problem. SafeTraces patented DNA-based traceability technology provides actors across the palm oil supply chain with the source information they need to make sustainable choices. UL’s objective, science-based assessments confirm the accuracy of that information. With the ability to accurately identify the source of palm oil, leading food companies, processors, and producers can significantly strengthen sustainable sourcing systems and simultaneously drive trust within the industry and with consumers.

“SafeTraces has developed a game-changing first-mile traceability solution that links the physical food product to its digital ID,” said Simin Zhou, Vice President and General Manager for UL Ventures. “Through our integration with the SafeTraces solution, we can jointly accelerate and validate the supply chain’s efforts toward fully traceable, more sustainable sourcing practices. As a 3rd party audits and inspections provider with a worldwide presence, we will work together with SafeTraces to tackle the palm oil sourcing problem on the ground, delivering unprecedented control of and insight into a critically important food supply chain at the global level.”

“Palm oil is ubiquitous in the world’s most popular consumer food and household products, yet its supply chain has a well-documented track record of troubling environmental and labor practices that sadly continues today,” said Anthony Zografos, Founder and CEO of SafeTraces. “The human, environmental, and financial toll of this problem is enormous. The first-mile, from plantation to mill, is where the risk of deforestation and labor exploitation is greatest and where traceability is weakest. SafeTraces is thrilled to partner with a global leader like UL to securely trace palm oil back to individual plantations in a way that is operationally and financially attractive for our customers.”

About UL
UL helps create a better world by applying science to solve safety, security and sustainability challenges. We empower trust by enabling the safe adoption of innovative new products and technologies. Everyone at UL shares a passion to make the world a safer place. All of our work, from independent research and standards development, to testing and certification, to providing analytical and digital solutions, helps improve global well-being. Businesses, industries, governments, regulatory authorities and the public put their trust in us so they can make smarter decisions. To learn more, visit UL.com.

About SafeTraces
SafeTraces provides the only patented on-food safety solutions that protect the food industry and consumers from food recalls, adulteration, and fraud. We are committed to providing complete, low-cost solutions that deliver results in minutes. Our traceability solutions enable customers to gain full transparency into the origin, protect their brand, and reduce processing and recall costs. Our sanitation verification solutions provide insight into the effectiveness of the sanitation process – on-site and in minutes.

SafeTraces was founded in 2013 and has grown into an expert team of entrepreneurs, scientists, and engineers dedicated to using nature’s DNA to make food production safer, more transparent and sustainable. Learn more about SafeTraces at www.safetraces.com.

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SOURCE SafeTraces, Inc.

This post originally appeared on PRN Newswire. Read it here.

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