- Startups are introducing new ways to detect pathogens and unwanted ingredients in their food, which can take the molecular inspection capability out of the science lab.
- The Nima portable gluten tester from 6SensorLabs and the C2Sense chip that acts as an electronic "nose" for detecting ripeness of produce are introducing affordability into food safety.
- SCiO from Consumer Physics of Israel identifies substances "by measuring the spectrum of light they reflect" on a product's surface and "could be used to detect fake or mislabeled foods more or less at a glance," according to The Wall Street Journal.
Food safety is the top food-related concern for consumers, beating out affordability and nutritional value, according to a survey from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. This concern does not go unfounded, as one in six Americans experience food poisoning each year, according to the CDC.
The CDC, along with the FDA and EPA, have started pushing companies to be more proactive about preventing foodborne pathogens from contaminating their products, citing data that found that "multistate outbreaks - which involve widely distributed products - cause more than half of all food poisoning deaths, even though they account for just 3 percent of all outbreaks," Reuters reported.
These technologies could become a major industry asset if they prove their worth.
"We have invented and made ubiquitous electronics that can see, hear and even feel with exquisite sensitivity, but the ability to analyze and break down the very constituents of our world—through something like smell and taste but with far more acuity than what’s accomplished by nature—will almost certainly create whole new applications, markets and billion-dollar businesses," The Wall Street Journal reported.