Written by Quin Chou, Nicole Herbold, and Lucia Cerrillo
Written by Quin Chou, Nicole Herbold, and Lucia Cerrillo
Written by Thomas Skernivitz | October 1, 2020
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Lessons in COVID-19
Date: March 25, 2020
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.
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.
SafeTraces’ Solution to E. Coli Outbreak
Date: April 24, 2018
PLEASANTON, Calif., April 24, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — SafeTraces, Inc., a San Francisco Bay Area-based company that is marketing ground-breaking food safety solutions, announced today that it has completed the validation of SaniTracers™, a revolutionary material that will become an invaluable tool for food processors as they seek to provide safer products.
Foodborne illness outbreaks are becoming more frequent and far-reaching every day with no end in sight: The latest multistate outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 infections, linked to contaminated romaine lettuce, has so far resulted in 53 cases of illness and 31 hospitalizations, including 5 cases of a type of kidney failure (i.e., Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome). Over a month after the onset of the outbreak, the source still remains unknown, prompting the CDC to warn consumers to avoid all types of romaine lettuce from the Yuma, AZ region since the exact origin of the product could not be determined. It is evident that the wash process was not effective in removing the contamination which was likely introduced at the field.
“Food processors have very limited tools to quickly verify, before shipment, the lethality of their wash processes on pathogenic bacteria that are sometimes present on fresh produce,” said Dr. Anthony Zografos, CEO of SafeTraces. “That is why SafeTraces is launching the first reliable, repeatable, fast, on-site test performed on the finished product to ensure appropriate washing by assessing decontamination and risk of cross-contamination of fresh produce.” SaniTracers™ are novel, FDA approved, food-grade microparticles that contain minute amounts of DNA and behave like pathogen surrogates, such as E. coli, during regular produce wash processes.
The technology was developed under an FDA-funded Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant and underwent rigorous evaluation and validation under a variety of conditions. “SaniTracers™ are a cost-effective, robust, and simple to use sanitation verification solution that integrates easily into any wash system,” said Dr. Laurie Clotilde, Director of Product Management. “SaniTracers™ tests are performed on-site by the customers, and they provide almost real time indication of the lethality of the wash process on pathogenic bacteria. Our solution provides food processors with increased confidence that they ship a safe, high quality product without affecting its shelf life through extended hold times.”
SafeTraces also offers a groundbreaking traceability solution for complete transparency of the origin of romaine lettuce as well as any other foods. Seaweed-based barcodes are applied directly on the food – not the packaging – at the origin and can be quickly recovered at any point in the supply chain to determine its provenance. The solution has already been applied to a number of commodities including fresh apples, citrus, green leafy vegetables (spinach, romaine, iceberg, and green leaf lettuces), oils (such as canola, palm, and olive oils), canola meal, grains, beans, fertilizers, etc.
“We are excited to partner with food processors who are universally striving to provide safer, higher quality food, and address the consumers’ demands for transparency, sustainability and purity,” said Zografos. “We are committed to providing complete, low-cost solutions that deliver results in minutes.”
SafeTraces provides the only food-safe source assurance solutions for fresh produce that protect producers, processors, and consumers. Our solutions enable customers to gain full transparency into origin, protect their brand, and reduce processing and recall costs.
Learn more about SafeTraces at www.safetraces.com
SOURCE SafeTraces, Inc.
SafeTraces Secures $6.5M in Series A
Date: October 19, 2017
PLEASANTON, California, Oct. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — SafeTraces, Inc., a San Francisco Bay Area based company that provides ground-breaking food source assurance solutions, announced that it completed a $6.5 million Series A financing round. Omidyar Network led the investment round with participation from existing and new investors, including UL Ventures, S2G Ventures, Maumee Ventures, City Light Capital, and Tuscan Management. The round brings SafeTraces’ total investment since launching its revolutionary food safety technology to $8.5 million and will enable the company to aggressively expand its sales efforts as well as accelerate its product development. SafeTraces welcomes Omidyar Network Venture Partner Rob Veres to its Board of Directors.
Omidyar Network, launched by eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar and Pam Omidyar, invests in innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. “SafeTraces provides innovative, low-cost solutions to improving food safety and reducing food waste at a time when the global food supply chain puts increasing pressure on food safety,” said Rob Veres, Venture Partner with Omidyar Network. “SafeTraces has a unique offering that we believe will have far-reaching benefits, ensuring the affordable integrity of food and other agricultural products.”
“SafeTraces’ commitment to advancing safety and transparency in the food supply chain aligns perfectly with UL’s mission of enabling safe living and working environments,” said Simin Zhou, VP & Managing Director of UL Ventures. “We are delighted to partner with SafeTraces to develop the next generation of assurance solutions.”
“We are excited to close this round with such a world-class syndicate of investors. Their expertise and understanding of market drivers in the global food industry are testament to the immediate demand for our solutions. Together, we will capture the market potential and build a great company,” said Anthony Zografos, SafeTraces Founder and CEO.
SafeTraces’ on-food source assurance solutions, SafeTracers™ and SaniTracers™, use seaweed DNA-based tags that provide producers, processors, and consumers with visibility into food origin and safety. SafeTracers™ are invisible, edible, tasteless FDA-approved barcodes that are applied directly to the food, not the cardboard, and deliver complete source information in minutes, instead of days or weeks as with conventional technologies. SaniTracers™ are food-safe DNA-based tags that behave like pathogens during produce sanitation and facility sanitization. They provide processors with an unprecedented level of transparency and confidence into their sanitization process, on-site and in minutes, rather than in hours or days as with existing off-site tests.
Key benefits of the SafeTraces solutions include:
SafeTraces has exceeded growth plans to date and has already signed several large national and global commercial and pilot customers over the past six months. In addition, the US FDA recently granted SafeTraces a prestigious multi-year SBIR Phase II grant to advance commercialization of SaniTracers™ for verification of sanitation of fresh produce. This grant is further proof that there is an urgent need for the SaniTracers™ solution in an environment where newly implemented government regulations (FSMA) put increased pressure on industry to improve their safety processes.
SafeTraces provides the only on-food source assurance solutions that protect producers, processors, and consumers. The company is committed to improving food safety by providing complete low-cost solutions that deliver results in minutes. Its solutions enable customers to gain full transparency into the food source, protect their brand, and reduce processing and recall costs.
SafeTraces was founded in 2013 by Anthony Zografos and has grown into an expert team of entrepreneurs, scientists, and engineers dedicated to disrupting the food safety industry. SafeTraces’ technology is patent-protected with four issued US patents, two pending US applications, and two international PCT applications.
Learn more about SafeTraces at www.safetraces.com
SOURCE SafeTraces, Inc.