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FDA Launches Challenge to Spur Development of Affordable Traceability Tools

The challenge is part of the agency’s broader food safety efforts to help protect people and animals from contaminated foods by enabling the rapid identification of their sources and helping remove them from the marketplace.

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The FDA has issued the New Era of Smarter Food Safety Low- or No-Cost Tech-Enabled Traceability Challenge, which encourages the development of creative financial models for low- to no-cost traceability solutions that would enable food producers of all sizes to participate in a scalable, cost-effective way. Through the challenge, the agency is asking food technology solution providers, public health advocates, entrepreneurs, and innovators across the human and animal food supply chain to present food traceability solutions that utilize economic models that are affordable, with costs that are proportional to the benefits received and can scale to encourage widespread adoption.  

To provide maximum flexibility, participants may offer solutions that are based on new or innovative models that are affordable for smaller enterprises. However, the solutions can also be based on existing or new scalable and cost-effective hardware, software, or data analytics platforms.

The FDA will accept submissions from June 1 through July 30 and will announce up to 12 winners at the end of the challenge. A panel of judges from the federal government with experience in the fields of technology, public health, or the food industry will select the winners based on how well solutions meet specific traceability challenges and demonstrate innovation, usability, affordability, scalability, and interoperability.

No cash prizes will be awarded, but the winners will have the opportunity to present their work publicly in a webinar planned for September and their videos will be posted for public viewing. For more information on how to join the challenge, visit the registration page.

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