Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

On Wednesday, June 24 IBM hosted a forum in Washington, D.C. on Capitol Hill (Video: ) for our clients and influencer ecosystem to examine the need for smarter and safer food systems, and to discuss the future of food safety and quality and ways to improve consumer safety and confidence. More than 70 people attended including a US Congresswoman, US Federal Food Agencies, clients, academia, business partners, grocery and food associations, White House staffers, press and analysts. Organizations represented include the FDA, Center for Food Safety, United Fresh Produce Association, USDA, Wisconsin Livestock Identification Association, Univ of Maryland, George Mason Univ, Sara Lee, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and attendees were very complimentary of (and in some cases surprised) at the diversity of participants.

Here are a few highlights from each speaker – common themes include the need for identifiers for food products, open traceability systems, standards, and information sharing:

Congresswoman Nita Lowey, NY-18 (Westchester): we need a mandatory traceability system for all foods
David Acheson, Assoc. Commisioner for Food, FDA: major roadblocks to food safety are the lack of uniform standards, we need a global traceability system, there’s a misconception that local is safe and global is unsafe
Gay Whitney, Standards Director, EPCglobal: we need standards for food identification, information capture and information sharing
Caroline Smith DeWaal, Food Safety Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest: 46% consumers worry they’ll get sick from food, 52% have little confidence in food safety systems, retailers need to take more responsibility with recalls
Viktor Varan, Matiq: talked about the food tracking system implemented in Norway
Dr. Allan Preston, DVM and Assistant Deputy Minister, Manitoba Agriculture, Food & Rural Initiatives: humbled by how underdeveloped and developing nations are ahead of North America in food traceability
Dr. Harold Schmitz, Chief Science Officer, Mars: We need government, universities, and the industry to work together, and not fragment, to counter food supply chain threats
Margaret Saunders, Homeland Security Director, Oak Ridge National Lab: food safety is important to homeland security

The session ended with an active Q&A that could have gone longer, but we were already over our allotted time.

Below is a link to the press kit for the event that includes the final press release on the consumer survey we did about their attitudes on food safety that we released the day of the event. as well as other relevant content.

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July 18, 2011
11:59 pm

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July 18, 2011
11:35 pm

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Posted by: usermeds
February 18, 2011
11:36 am

“Psychologist Perth” posted a good comment. I agree more countries should have this food safety forum. Please let me know where you’d like to have the next one and we can all work together to make it happen!

Posted by: Ralph Jacobson
February 17, 2011
11:32 pm

More countries should have this type of conference.

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October 15, 2009
7:50 pm

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Posted by: Hydrolyze
July 10, 2009
2:26 pm

these kinds of public discussion forums are really effective, they are a good source of making people aware about the different food safety problems we are facing currently.

Posted by: Food Safety Certification
July 8, 2009
3:50 pm

Lively and open debate about all facets of our food supply – including GMO, food security, food waste, traceability and food safety – is essential to ensuring the stakeholders consider and propertly evaluate all relevant possible solutions.

What is widely accepted as fact is that the current trajectory of food consumption vs. food production is not sustainable. The UN just released data suggesting the world’s hungry now tops 1 billion people ( At the same time food prices remain high around the globe, drought it a very real issue in many of the prime agricultural regions (e.g., Brazil, Australia, China and California) and increasing consumption trends will likely exacerbate these issues. At the same time it is estimated that food waste between farm and fork may exceed 50% (

What is needed is a smarter food supply chain… one that addresses declining agricultural yields, water use, waste, contamination, distribution challenges and health issues, and engages all stakeholders.

Posted by: Guy Blissett
July 8, 2009
11:51 am

GMOs are going to be the end of humanity and many other species if we’re don’t stop using them now. There is a VERY GOOD REASON why the EU won’t allow them into their food supply. They’re not safe. They cause digestive problems and others. Monsanto and now I guess IBM is on the bandwagon and is behind this ridiculous movement to gain control of the food supply world wide, beginning with the US. IBM is wholeheartedly supporting it so they can sell their product. Monsanto is doing the same. None of it has been tested long term… or even short term on HUMANS, for that matter. But, somehow… the good ol’ FDA passes it. Wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that Big Agro and Big Pharma have all of their former employees now working for the FDA, would it? Gee? Nah…

Shame on IBM and anyone else that messes with the basic building blocks of life in this way. Releasing the modified genome into the world isn’t something that can be stopped. It’s a time bomb and it’s ticking… and it’s getting louder by the day. Wonder why there are so many more instances of people getting Crone’s Disease? Much younger people getting colon cancer and other types of cancer? Because they’re eating FRANKENFOODS and chemicals the body was never meant to ingest. The ONLY way to prevent the kinds of food contamination we’ve been seeing is to get back to having our own ORGANIC community gardens as well as the one in the back yard for our food production.

Good Lord, why not try edible landscaping? Plant the things you like to eat instead of the shrub and grass that serve no purpose other than to look nice for about 3 months a year and suck every township’s water supply dry with nothing to show for it! People need to get off their butts and get their hands into some dirt and stop relying on Big Agro to do it for them. It’s not hard, doesn’t take a lot of time and it’s rewarding. Might actually get them in better shape than sitting in front of the boob tube like a ZOMBIE.. ut oh… wait. If people aren’t ZOMBIES then they might just figure out what is going on! IBM and Monsanto will never allow THAT TO HAPPEN! I’ll be surprised if this comment even shows up!

Posted by: Naia Kelly
July 2, 2009
2:43 pm

David Acheson is a well known expert of food quality in US government and he made a lot of good work in tracing contaminated food from many sources. But the fact of existence contaminated food sources and fighting them must not create such restrictions and rules that will kill local markets and local supplies like it was few ears ago in new EU countries. Finally EU resolved that problem allowing many small traditional factories to skip many too expensive workplace safety rules.
If we will kill local markets what will left?

Huge mono culture genetically modified farms is a tillage which is ugly for the landscape, depleting biodiversity, creating allergies, sfruttaring soil.
Genetically modified plant is like a gamble – one will never know what will be the effects in the far future on such.

But now is more than obvious: genetically modified corn in European shops is not a healthy thing nor tasty…

Posted by: Jakub Tymowski
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