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IFT’s Tech-Enabled Traceability Insights Report Based on the FDA’s Low- or No-Cost Traceability Challenge

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Low- or No-Cost Traceability

IFT’s GFTC has released its report on Tech-Enabled Traceability Insights Based on the FDA’s Low- or No-Cost Traceability Challenge

Download the Report (PDF)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) contracted with the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) from 2022 to 2023 to produce a report on tech-enabled food traceability trends based on the 90 submissions from teams that participated in the FDA’s 2021 Low-or No-Cost Tech-Enabled Traceability Challenge. Because IFT’s Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC) has played a central role in discussions of traceability for over a decade, the FDA determined that IFT was ideally positioned to develop this independent report analyzing recent technological hardware, software, and data-analytics developments for traceability end-users.

This report is intended to contribute to ongoing industry discussions about the role of technology in traceability and provide high-level recommendations to key stakeholders on advancing the tech-enabled traceability landscape.

  • The FDA provided IFT with critical background materials to independently evaluate and analyze the private sector traceability solution submissions received during the Challenge. Within this report, IFT discusses current sector trends, identifies themes from the Challenge submissions, and examines how increased collaboration can promote a more digital, traceable, and safe food system. Specifically, the themes and insights generated within this report seek to answer how improvements in interoperability, support and infrastructure, usability, and cost could provide opportunities for future industry improvements within this space.
  • IFT determined that the knowledge, means, and technology have been developed to make end-to-end tech-enabled traceability a reality, but it will not be realized without collective action and continued innovation among the diverse food industry community. Furthermore, developing low-cost traceability solutions that are intuitive to all levels of experience, available in multiple languages, promote the use of data standards and data communication protocols, and consider applicability to specific supply chain segments or commodities are critical for advancing traceability.

This report is an important resource for industry stakeholders to advance food traceability concepts, as outlined under the FDA's New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint. FDA will use the report recommendations to educate stakeholders on food traceability considerations and continue to foster important conversations among food supply chain constituents on the importance of tech-enabled traceability.


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