Lessons in COVID-19

Lessons in COVID-19

Date: March 25, 2020

Takeaways for the Future of Food Safety

Erik Malmstrom

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed our dangerous lack of public health readiness to contain the rapid spread of a deadly virus in the US, demonstrated by our insufficient testing capabilities and our inability to effectively track and trace in the early days of the outbreak. While there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging, it is fair to question the US food system’s preparedness for pandemics in which food has greater potential to be a carrier. Identifying and addressing weaknesses now has the potential of mitigating the risk of catastrophic health and economic consequences in the future.

In the US, a multi-stakeholder coalition of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Food and Drug Authority (FDA), Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Authority (USDA-FSIS), and state and local public health authorities is responsible for responding to infections and outbreaks transmitted through food. Enacted in 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) upgraded the US food safety system for produce and processed food, governed by FDA, by requiring stronger tracking of foodborne illnesses, stronger oversight of food production, stronger preventive controls, and empowering FDA with mandatory recall authority. However, at the time of FSMA’s enactment, Congress did not simultaneously upgrade safety standards for meat and poultry, governed by USDA-FSIS, with food recalls continuing to be almost all voluntary and initiated by manufacturers and distributors.

Consequently, critics believe that fragmentation of the food safety system in the US has resulted in “inconsistent oversight, ineffective coordination, and inefficient use of resources.”¹ Moreover, the current system has led to bifurcated outcomes – total produce and processed food recalls governed by FDA have decreased 34% since the implementation of new food safety plans for food companies in 2016, with the most hazardous recalls (Class I) dropping 54%. Meanwhile, total meat and poultry recalls governed by USDA-FSIS have increased 65% since 2013, with the most hazardous recalls (Class I) increasing by 85%.²

Technological modernization is another challenge and opportunity for food safety. In 2019, the FDA launched a major initiative called “The New Era of Smarter Food Safety” in order to “leverage technology and other tools, to create a more digital, traceable, and safer food system.”³ In many respects, the US food industry lags behind other industries with respect to its level of technological sophistication for ensuring the safety and security of its supply chain. One of the most glaring gaps between current food industry practice and commercially available technology used in other industries pertains to rapid testing for food safety and traceability. As we’ve seen with South Korea and other Asian countries that have most effectively responded to COVID-19, deploying rapid testing, tracking, and tracing technology in healthcare, early and often, can have a decisive impact on containment. Similarly, rapid testing, tracking, and tracing technology is extremely valuable in identifying and removing lethal contaminants in the food chain.

Currently, much of the food industry employs outdated low-tech solutions for food safety and traceability. These solutions have repeatedly demonstrated their shortcomings with fatal consequences. Over the past two years, high-profile recalls of romaine lettuce, beef, and flour, among others, due to e.coli contamination not only failed to identify contaminated product before it hit retail shelves and endangered the lives of consumers. Disturbingly, post-recall investigations often took months to complete, failed to identify the original source of contamination, and failed to prompt meaningful reform of food safety practices.

Recognizing an unmet need in the food industry, our company developed the first and only on-food traceability solution, leveraging edible, invisible DNA-based barcodes (FDA Generally Recognized As Safe) that are applied directly to food and that a downstream purchaser can read with a rapid, inexpensive, on-site test. Our solution is especially valuable in food chains with elevated risk of pathogenic contamination, counterfeiting, and environmentally destructive sourcing practices, where verifying product provenance and authenticity rapidly 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, we developed a groundbreaking rapid sanitation verification solution to quantify the microbial load reduction of cleaning and sanitation in food processing facilities, and thereby significantly mitigate the risk of pathogenic contamination being present in consumer food. While traditional solutions often require sending samples to a third-party lab and waiting days for results long after food product has left a food processing facility, our solution provides results on-site within 20-25 minutes, enabling food processors to make in-process corrective actions and ultimately protecting consumers. We represent one of many innovative food tech companies, several of whom we partner closely with, with breakthrough technology to deliver on the lofty ambitions of the FDA’s “New Era of Food Safety” initiative.     

While several market leading food companies have jumped at the opportunity to work with us, occasionally we have received positive feedback from others, but with the disappointing qualifier that they will not purchase our solutions unless regulators impose more stringent requirements upon them. Moreover, many of these same companies recognize food safety risks in their supply chains but believe that liability resulting from the powerful food safety data provided by our solutions, particularly if available to regulators and auditors, outweighs the risk of maintaining the status quo and the potential of being implicated in a food recall. In other words, otherwise good actors felt that they would be penalized for doing the right thing and proactively bolstering their food safety program.  

Amid sky-high concerns about COVID-19, consumers may ultimately be a greater driver for significant food safety reform and modernization than regulators. Already, consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the safety of fresh products with greater likelihood of multiple human touchpoints. Moreover, consumers are demanding greater visibility into food chains and corresponding safety measures being taken, rewarding leaders and punishing laggards. 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.” 

In response to the 2008 financial crisis, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel famously stated, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” To Emmanuel’s maxim, I would add the corollary, “Technology is a terrible thing to waste.” Groundbreaking technologies like ours and others have the potential to dramatically enhance the safety and security of our food system in good times and bad. However, this potential will only be realized if the food industry is incentivized and compelled to modernize by consumers and regulators, and to bring technology off the sidelines and into the fight. They should seize the opportunity to act now before it is too late. Our company and other innovative food tech companies stand ready.

– Erik Malmstrom

Erik Malmstrom is CEO of SafeTraces, a Bay Area technology company and provider of DNA-enabled diagnostic solutions for indoor air quality. Further information can be found at www.safetraces.com.

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.

SafeTraces Granted U.S. Patent

safeTracersGranted U.S. Patent

Date: May 8, 2019

PLEASANTON, Calif.May 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — SafeTraces, Inc. announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the company a U.S. Patent titled DNA Based Bar Code for Improved Food Traceability. The patent discloses a novel method for encoding and decoding digital information to and from DNA strands. The SafeTraces technology uses DNA strands drawn from seaweed and allows the food and agricultural industries to create and apply unique, edible, flavorless DNA barcodes directly to the food, not the packaging. These barcodes carry complete source data, stay on the food throughout the supply chain, and can be read in minutes to confirm provenance and purity of any food item.

The result is a highly scalable, cost-effective way of uniquely identifying the food – not just the box or pallet – that is far superior to conventional DNA tagging. To illustrate the advantages, consider that the same infrastructure that is needed to create just thirty-two DNA barcodes using conventional methods allows SafeTraces to create and deliver over four billion DNA barcodes, representing a cost advantage of many orders of magnitude. The SafeTraces DNA barcodes, marketed as safeTracers™, can be read anywhere, anytime by minimally trained personnel in minutes, while conventional DNA barcodes require specialized laboratories, clean rooms, and highly trained personnel – a process that normally takes days and thus offers no practical operational value.

The implications of this new model for the food and agricultural industries are profound: Inseparable from the food or product – unlike 2D barcodes – safeTracers represent the connecting link between the food and blockchain or other supply chain systems. Developed for low margin industries, such as fresh produce, tropical oils, and bulk foods and grains, safeTracers offer processors and consumers complete source assurance within minutes. This is particularly critical in times of food recalls, or when questions about authenticity, sustainability, or economically motivated adulteration need to be answered rapidly and accurately. safeTracers offer results in minutes – anytime, anywhere – enabling the industry to improve traceable sourcing with the ability to premium price, defend margins, and enhance brand loyalty. Consumers gain increasing certainty and trust in the quality and brand of the food they buy.

Obtaining this patent further demonstrates SafeTraces’ commitment to the development of next generation traceability and digital food safety technologies that enable our customers to vastly improve tracking when it comes to food. “This patent is a critical component of our IP portfolio that includes many innovations to create a more digital, transparent, and safer food system while also addressing consumer demands for quick access to information about where foods come from, how they’re produced and, whether the food is the subject of an ongoing recall,” said Dr. Anthony Zografos, CEO, SafeTraces, echoing a statement by the FDA Acting Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner.

safeTracers™ are affirmed G.R.A.S. (Generally Regarded as Safe) by the FDA. They are part of the complete solutions offered by SafeTraces that include the IoT miniDART™ and D-ART3000 DNA barcoding systems and DNA barcode readers. The solutions use low-cost equipment that easily and seamlessly retrofits into existing production facilities and usher in a new era of food source and safety assurance.

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 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 own DNA to make food production safer, more transparent and sustainable.

Learn more about SafeTraces at www.safetraces.com

SOURCE SafeTraces, Inc.

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

SafeTraces Launches DNA-Based Solution for Grains

SafeTraces and JBT Launch Partnership

Date: July 2, 2019

PLEASANTON, Calif.May 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — SafeTraces, Inc. announced the launch of a first-mile traceability solution for conventional and organic grains, which will be available on a limited basis immediately and commercially available in late 2019. The DNA-based solution leverages the company’s patented, FDA affirmed GRAS materials, currently being implemented across the fresh produce industry.

On-product, item-level traceability has the potential to transform supply chains for dry bulk commodities. With the ability to granularly and accurately identify the source of grain, leading food companies, processors, and producers will be able to dramatically improve food safety, quality assurance, fraud detection, and sustainable sourcing systems.

“The grain industry relies on a 20th century supply chain model that has failed to evolve with 21st century demands for traceability and sustainability,” said Anthony Zografos, Founder and CEO of SafeTraces. “While consumers increasingly want to know where their food comes from and how it was produced, much of this data is lost the moment grain is transported off the farm. From verifying whether organic grain is truly from an organic source, or whether conventional grain has not been treated with glyphosate, to rapidly responding to food recalls, our ground-breaking first-mile traceability solution addresses these glaring market needs in a powerful, practical, and cost-effective way.”

The launch of SafeTraces’ first-mile traceability solution comes at a time when the global food industry attempts to respond to consumer calls for greater transparency by setting ambitious sustainability goals and modernizing supply chain practices through technology and process innovation. According to the 2016 Label Insight Food Revolution Study, 94% percent of consumers say it is important to them that the brands and manufacturers they buy from are transparent about what is in their food and how it is made.

Across its portfolio of solutions, SafeTraces applies edible, flavorless, odorless DNA-based barcodes directly to food, not the packaging, to deliver unprecedented traceability. safeTracers can be read anytime, anywhere in minutes. Expansion into the grain industry is one of several major launches into new customer segments planned in 2019, along with leafy greens and palm oil, among others.

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 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 own DNA to make food production safer, more transparent and sustainable.

Learn more about SafeTraces at www.safetraces.com.

SOURCE SafeTraces, Inc.

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

JBT and SafeTraces’ alliance to revolutionize food safety

SafeTraces Launches Traceability for Grains

Date: May 21, 2019

PLEASANTON, Calif.July 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — JBT Corporation, the top-tier technology solutions provider to the global food and beverage industry, and SafeTraces, a leading food safety and traceability solutions provider, have announced a global alliance to integrate SafeTraces’ breakthrough, patented DNA-based technologies into JBT’s solutions portfolio for worldwide distribution.

The strategic alliance will focus on incorporating SafeTraces’ groundbreaking food safety and traceability technology into JBT FoodTech businesses, including fresh produce technologies, fresh-cut technologies, and coating equipment solutions, enabling rapid verification of sanitation processes and item-level tracking and tracing of food materials. Instead of waiting for days or weeks to verify food safety, sustainability or purity, the integrated solutions will provide the food industry with actionable results in minutes, fundamentally changing the way safe, sustainable food is produced and delivered.

According to The United States Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG), food-related recalls have risen at 10% in the United States from 2013 to 2018. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) also estimates that each recall results in over $10 billion in direct costs not including indirect costs related to long-term damage to the brand reputations of food industry actors. Meanwhile, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has repeatedly called on the food industry to embrace new technologies and innovations focused on improving its ability to secure the food supply chain and engage in more effective tracking and tracing of food from farm to fork.

JBT is committed to continued innovation by applying differentiated and proprietary technologies to meet its customers’ food processing needs. It continually strives to improve its existing solutions and develop new solutions by working closely with its customers to meet their evolving needs.

“Food safety and traceability is a mega-trend that will transform the marketplace over the next generation,” said Carlos Fernandez, JBT’s Executive Vice President and President, Liquid Foods. “Consumers are increasingly rewarding food companies that provide greater transparency on how their food was produced and leaving behind those that don’t. SafeTraces has developed a game-changing technology that has wide-ranging applications across our business. We’re thrilled to partner with them and offer this breakthrough to our customers.”

“On-product, item-level traceability is the holy grail of source assurance, and rapid on-site verification of sanitation process is the holy grain of safety assurance,” said SafeTraces Founder & CEO Anthony Zografos. “We’re the first company to develop a technology that is commercially viable, scalable, and delivers clear benefits and a clear return on investment to customers. Partnering with a renowned market leader like JBT presents a tremendous opportunity to commercialize and distribute our technology at a global scale.”

About JBT

JBT Corporation is a leading global technology solutions provider to high-value segments of the food & beverage industry with focus on proteins, liquid foods and automated system solutions. JBT designs, produces and services sophisticated products and systems for multi-national and regional customers through its FoodTech segment. JBT also sells critical equipment and services to domestic and international air transportation customers through its AeroTech segment. JBT Corporation employs approximately 6,500 people worldwide and operates sales, service, manufacturing and sourcing operations in more than 25 countries.

About SafeTraces

SafeTraces provides the only patented on-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 into origin, 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 was founded in 2013 and has grown into 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.

SOURCE SafeTraces

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

THRIVE Announces 2019 Top 50 Report

SafeTraces Awarded THRIVE Top 50

Date: March 11, 2019

San Francisco, March 11, 2019 – SVG Ventures today announced its 2019 THRIVE Top 50 Report, an annual ranking of 50 leading global AgTech companiesexemplifying the best in agriculture and food-focused innovation. Recognizing companies across 6 different technology categories and seven problem areas within agriculture and food, the list is the result of six months of rigorous research and analysiswith input provided by SVG Ventures corporate partners’ Trimble, Land O’Lakes, Wilbur Ellis, Taylor Farms, Elanco, Corteva, E&J Gallo Winery, Verizon Wireless, the City of Salinas, Western Growers Association, Yamaha Motor Venture & Laboratory Silicon Valley, Driscoll’s Berries, JV Smith, and Wells Fargo.

The 2019 report uses data from SVG Ventures’ startup database and supplementary industry data to identify 50 companies that are series A funded and have recently fundraised as well as have a product in market. The final fifty companies reflected in this year’s report were then categorized into six main technology categories- Biotechnology, Connected Devices, Cloud Services/Saas, Robotics & Automation, Next-Gen Farms, and Big Data & Analytics- and seven problem areas- Health & Nutrition, Labor, Farm Management, Environmental Sustainability, Food Safety, Traceability, And E-Commerce.

The report also includes analysis and highlights of industry exits, including the purchase of previous THRIVE Top 50 companies Agrible, by Nutrien for $63M, and Strider by Syngenta, amongst other purchases led by Land O’Lakes, Merck and Jain Irrigation.

In addition, 2019’s report includes THRIVE’s 25 Ones to Watch, a list is comprised of 25 agtech companies that fell just short of meeting the top 50 criteria(series A, recent large fundraise and a product in market).

Finally,2019 Unicorn Contenders predicts the industry’s next billion-dollar companies, and this year is dominated by vertically integrated ‘next-gen’ farms including AeroFarms and Brightfarms, and top biotechnology contenders Gingko Bioworks and Indigo Ag.

“This year’s awardees are developing incredible solutions that enable the agriculture and food industries to respond in a proactive way to urgent environmental challenges, labor shortages, food security, and human health concerns” said SVG Ventures-THRIVE Founder and CEO John Hartnett, “Top 50 companies are critical assets to the industry and we are proud to highlight the incredible spectrum of innovation represented by this year’s Top 50.”

THRIVE Top 50 company founders and executives, including CropIn Technology Solutions, AeroFarms, Pivot Bio, Prospera, Taranis Ag, Bension Hill Biosciences and Solinftech, will present onstage during THRIVE’s AgTech Innovation Summit on March 27, hosted for the first time at Santa Clara University.

 

Big Data Analytics

Ceres Imaging

Farmer’s Edge Laboratories

Farmers Business Network

Phytech Inc

PrecisionHawk, Inc

ProducePay

Prospera

Resson

Taranis

 

Biotechnology

AgBiome

Agriprotein

Apeel Sciences

Benson Hill Biosystems

Cibus

Clear Labs

Concentric Ag Corporation

Cool Planet Energy Systems

Ginkgo Bioworks

Inari

Indigo

Myco Technology

Nuritas

Pairwise Plants

Phytelligence

Pivot Bio

PlantResponse

Provivi

Rootility

SafeTraces

VoloAgri

Zymergen

 

Cloud Services/SaaS

Agriwebb

AgWorld

Cibo Technologies

Conservis

CropIn Technologies

FarmLogs

Farmobile

 

Connected Devices

Advanced Animal Diagnostics

CropX

Hortau

Semios

Solinftec

Stellapps technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Understory

 

Next Gen Farms

AeroFarms

Bowery Farming

BrightFarms

Plenty Inc.

 

Robotics & Automation

Harvest Automation

About SVG Ventures-THRIVE

SVG-THRIVE is the leading agri-food innovation ecosystem, comprised of top agriculture, food & technology corporations, universities and investors. With a community of over 1,500 startups from 67 countries, the THRIVE platform invests, accelerates and creates unparalleled access for entrepreneurs to scale globally. SVG Ventures-THRIVE is based in Silicon Valley, California.

 

This post originally appeared on THRIVE. Read it here.

SafeTraces Announces Partnership with Mérieux

SafeTraces Partners with Mérieux NutriSciences

Date: February 14, 2019

PLEASANTON, Calif.Feb. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Over the past few months, SafeTraces and Mérieux NutriSciences have been collaborating on a partnership geared to bringing innovative, fully integrated solutions to the produce sector. Combining a DNA-based solution, saniDART™, and an innovative software to manage Environmental Monitoring Programs, EnviroMap®, the two companies will allow produce manufacturers to more easily manage their plant sanitation processes, decrease the risk of contamination and deliver their product more cost-effectively.

SafeTraces offers cutting edge, easy-to-use solutions that provide actionable results in minutes to make food production safer, more transparent, and less wasteful. The SafeTraces’ saniDART™ solution uses a system of non-living, food-grade DNA-tagged particles that behave like pathogenic bacteria under the action of sanitizers. These particles become the basis for a 15-minute, on-site sanitation verification for food processing plants. Unlike other solutions, saniDART™ can be safely used on both food and non-food surfaces, giving processors the unique ability to take corrective action in real time.

This partnership represents a joint commitment to food safety,” says Tim Freier, Vice President of Scientific Affairs and Microbiology at Mérieux NutriSciences North America. “The unique combination of saniDART™ and EnviroMap®, is really going to add a powerful, innovative element to food safety & sanitizing programs in the produce environment.”

Integrated with an environmental monitoring system, the saniDART™ solution now supports scheduling, notifications, corrective actions and data analysis,” says SafeTraces Founder and CEO, Anthony Zografos. “EnviroMap® offers the full functionality in a secure, cloud-based system – and it was seamlessly integrated with saniDART™ to provide incredible capability and a wealth of future options.

Mérieux NutriSciences’ EnviroMap® platform is one of the company’s digital solutions aimed at helping the food industry automate their environmental monitoring program. With the ability to remove the manual element from environmental sampling, manufacturers can focus on other areas of their production line or food safety plan.

We are excited to be partnering with such an innovative player in the produce industry,” says Agnès Houpiart-Dupré, Vice President of Digital Solutions for Mérieux NutriSciences. “They are doing great things for food safety and are committed to protecting public health. As partners with similar missions, we are happy to be working together with SafeTraces.

About SafeTraces

SafeTraces provides the only 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 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 own DNA to make food production safer, more transparent and sustainable.

Learn more about SafeTraces at www.safetraces.com.

SOURCE SafeTraces, Inc.

Related Links

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

SafeTraces launches sanitation verification system

Featured in The Packer

Date: October 23, 2018

ORLANDO, Fla. – SafeTraces is promoting its new-to-market sanitation verification solution and its patented DNA barcode application system for fresh produce items.

The company’s solution puts a DNA-based tracer directly on food, and the tracer travels with food through the supply chain.

The tracer can be coupled with a block-chain based or centralized registry system, according to the company. The invisible DNA barcode is applied to produce by suppliers at a packing facility in a processing step (such as wax).

The DNA-based tracer gives what the company calls unbreakable links between physical objects and their digital certificates.

So far, the system has been done with citrus, melons, lettuce and fertilizer, according to the company.

“It is an extra data point that can be read within 15 to 20 minutes anywhere down the supply chain, onsite,” said Urike Hodges, vice president of business operations for SafeTraces, Pleasanton, Calif.
The SafeTraces Source Assurance Solution answers the question of where the produce was sourced from and if a certain item is implicated in a recall or not, Hodges said.

Sky Johnson, sales manager for the Western region for SafeTraces, said no sticker on the box or fruit is required.

The DNA codes allows suppliers to determine whether a piece of produce was supplied by the company or not. The equipment has the ability to generate unique barcodes every few seconds and supply any level of granularity needed, Johnson said.

At the end of October, Johnson said SafeTraces is launching its SaniTracers and AquaTags systems that help fresh produce handlers and processors verify the effectiveness of sanitation of plants and equipment in minutes. AquaTags and SaniTracers are non-living food-safe DNA-tagged particles engineered to behave like pathogens during sanitation, according to the company.

The system uses augmented reality to select randomized areas for application.

In October, SafeTraces announced the company closed a $10 million equity financing round.
The round was led by S2G Ventures (Seed to Growth), a leading multi-stage investment firm focused on the food and agriculture industry, and Bunge Ventures, the venture capital arm of Bunge Ltd., a leading global agribusiness and food company.

 

This post originally appeared on The Packer. Read it here.

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