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Is Analytics the New Protagonist for Food Safety?

Dec 11, 2018

Analytics is helping food producers, retailers, and restaurants to better understand customer needs and uncover important food safety and industry trends.

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 globalization in this sector, the tastes and preferences of customers have become more complex than ever before. Furthermore, the rising rate of food safety concerns is putting players in the food industry under constant pressure to meet the expected standards.

Analytics solutions help food industry companies with critical decision-making capabilities in the areas of pricing, product promotion, product development, and demand forecasting. This consequently results in improved product innovation, greater sales effectiveness, enhanced margins and profitability levels, extended customer reach, increased marketing ROI, and greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.

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Analytics in Food Safety

Reduce Food Recalls

The case of food recalls can cost a company millions of dollars in direct costs alone, not including lost future sales from the damaged reputation and goodwill. When factoring in medical expenses, productivity loss and mortality, the cost of such unfortunate events become higher. Despite increased regulation, the number of food recalls has continued to rise in the past couple of years. Food safety has garnered greater importance with the growing global complex food supply chain. Though regulation plays a major role, preventing future recalls require improved traceability throughout the food supply chain. The use of analytics solutions helps food companies to track production and operations, improve food traceability, and prevent contamination. Using technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), food companies can collect data through sensors embedded within the advanced food packaging. Furthermore, smart packaging provides real-time monitoring and management of food products from the farm to the table. Having the right data in hand is the key for food companies to stop contaminated products and prevent recalls altogether, eventually resulting in enhanced food safety.

GIS to Predict Foodborne Pathogen

GIS refers to a computer-based tool that is highly useful in mapping and analyzing things on earth. It encompasses a combination of geographical data with attribute data (such as climate conditions, or other characteristics of a location). This technology facilitates food safety as it combines information on geographical features and attributes data that includes the characteristics/information related to a specific location to identify associations between the environment and a pathogen.

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Whole-Genome Sequencing in Food Safety

The advent of new affordable whole-genome sequencing is giving rise to a higher resolution of genomic data. Whole-genome sequencing has the power to differentiate virtually any strain of pathogens. This capability was lacking in previous techniques such as pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Genomic data is being generated in order to track and trace foodborne illnesses across different food sources, food-manufacturing facilities, and clinical cases. With today’s increasingly global food supply and the fact that food products are often multi-ingredient, such robust tools are integral to ensure food safety. They can track food contamination quickly and remove any contaminated food products from the food supply and ensure food safety.

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