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Four technologies are explored that improve food safety across the global supply chain.

Technology can play an important part in not just food manufacturing but also in ensuring the safe consumption of food, alleviating challenges around handling, preparation, and storage of food. Ultimately, preventing or at least reducing the risk of food-borne illnesses.

Companies such as Sick design and build a range of sensor solutions to ensure a safe food chain, facilitating reliable data acquisition and quality assurance along the entire food chain.

Globally, food chains are becoming more complex, leading to greater health risks in the food supply, as such information on the safety, quality, and origin of food is very important.

Furthermore, technologies such as blockchain, data analytics, ultraviolet light, and modular spectroscopy systems, have a significant role to play in food safety.

 

1. Blockchain

Organisations such as IBM are offering blockchain solutions to the food and beverage sector, making food traceability possible. These solutions can track the food item to its source, enhancing food authenticity and safety.

In 2018, IBM formed a joint venture with Maersk to provide more efficient and secure methods for conducting global trade using blockchain technology.

A distributed ledger technology, blockchain establishes a shared, immutable record of all the transactions that take place within a network and then enables permissioned parties access to trusted data in real time. 

By applying the technology to digitise global trade processes, a new form of command and consent can be introduced into the flow of information, empowering multiple trading partners to collaborate and establishing a single shared view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality.

 

2. Data Analytics

IoT devices are now widespread across the food and beverage sector, generating vast amounts of data. By leveraging big data analytics, organisations can now reveal patterns and indicators of foodborne illnesses.

Leading food industry companies are tapping into data analytics in the food industry to design their inventory, improve quality control, and meet changing demands.

The food industry encompasses everything from producers and shipping companies to retailers and restaurants, making them one of the world’s largest and most important business sectors.

However, with increased globalisation, the tastes and preferences of customers have become more complex than ever before. 

Furthermore, the rising rate of food safety concerns is putting food industry companies under constant pressure to meet rising changes in consumer needs and food safety standards. 

 

3. Ultraviolet Light

The use of ultraviolet (UV) light has been used for many decades as a go to method to kill viruses such as Salmonella and E. Coli in addition to many other microbes that cause food to off.

Furthermore, the use of infrared heating is used extensively across the industry in applications such as pasteurisation. Lamps radiate heat at low temperatures killing surface bacteria and contaminants before the produce is packaged.

 

4. Modular Spectroscopy Systems

Spectroscopy studies the interaction between matter and electromagnetic radiation. There are multiple types of spectroscopy systems on the market, including absorbance, reflectance, fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy systems. These systems are used for the authentication and safety testing of foods.

As food fraud is a more significant problem with the global distribution of food goods, modular spectroscopy fills the need for technologically advanced equipment to authenticate foods throughout the distribution network.

While it is clear pathogens will not be going away any time soon, new technology is making the prevention, detection and treatment of these foodborne illnesses more comprehensive. 

Embracing these technologies will help to minimise the impact of foodborne pathogens on individuals, while simultaneously improving the bottom line of food service businesses.

 

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