Is Spray on Traceability a Solution for Tainted Foods?

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Is Spray on Traceability a Solution for Tainted Foods?

As the years go by, methods used to trace tainted fruits, vegetables, and other foods seem to get less conventional. Recently, it has been in the news that a Bay Area startup, DNATrek, is hoping to revolutionize the food traceability industry. How? With a liquid spray or wax capable of adding DNA barcodes to vegetables and fruits. According to DNATrek, there is no taste or odor in the tracers, which reportedly are safe. According to an article at Food Safety News, the liquid or wax solution that gets sprayed on foods contains unique particles of DNA that helps identify how the food was produced and its origin in the event of a recall or illness outbreak. DNATrek CEO and Founder Anthony Zografos said in an interview with Food Safety News that "Because of the way food traceability is set up, traceback investigations are very often inconclusive or take weeks or more to complete." Because of this, recalls are often a knee-jerk reaction resulting in huge expense. The spray-on product, called DNATrax, is 100% natural according to Zografos, who said lifting the material from produce could be completed in just minutes. Essentially, the DNATrax can be lifted off before being analyzed using PCR (polymerase chain reaction) in the lab to identify its origin or source if suspected to be contaminated once it reaches the store or consumer. The product is also capable of using similar methods when tracing a tainted or fraudulent food back to the producer, according to reports. As suppliers of industrial coding and marking systems and traceability solutions, Markem-Imaje understands how critical it is to determine the source of fruits, vegetables, and other foods quickly and efficiently, not only in an effort to reduce the number of foodborne illnesses, but manufacturers' costs in terms of a recall as well. Will DNA Spray-on technology be the wave of the future? We will be closely monitoring the progress of DNATrax.

January 10, 2014
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