A consumer food tracking tool and database
In today's society, food quality and recalls have been a sore point with the general public and has brought into question our nation's ability to protect our food supply. Our current food regulations are outdated, based on the rate of recalls and the long delays in locating the source of contamination. Tracking outbreaks of E-coli and other bacterium that has infiltrated our food supply is a major concern. Thus, I have devised a system that will track our nations food sources and provide transparency in regards to food suppliers.
SourcePoint is a concept that brings the information about the origin of our foods into one centralized database. This information is provided by food manufacturers and growers at the inception of sale. Product information should contain details on the origin of ingredients/chemicals that are used in creating their finished products. The information in the centralized database would then be available to the public. SourcePoint could also be used as a regulatory tool by the FDA and homeland security to manage our food source.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently has a similar concept in place regarding the collection and storage of data on the fabrication of medically related products. The new twist to this concept is to publish the data to the general consumer, whom it will directly affect. This concept of centralizing the data regarding our food also will provide the FDA with an effective mode of tracking the recall of tainted product.
The general idea of publishing the data about our food enhances processes already in place regarding manufacturing of products, such as the ISO 9001. SourcePoint takes advantages of what's already in place for food regulation and adds transparency for the general consumer's knowledge. The proposed idea does not add more burden to the food producers, since they are already collecting this information. The general public will be able to view both the list of ingredients and their origin, as well as the manufacturing facility that the food was processed in. More importantly, the information will provide a product's carbon footprint and what percentage of the product is produced domestically.
The most effective mean of disseminating this information to the public is to tie the information to the Universal Product Code (UPC)/ bar code. With the bar codes, manufacturers can also check the sales of their products in real time, thereby providing instantaneous snapshots of their product performance in the market. Excess and waste can be better curbed if manufacturers can avoid overproduction and adjust their numbers according to demand.
With SourcePoint, a typical consumer will be able to walk into a store and scan a product with their smart phone. The application in their smart phone will then access SourcePoint's database and bring up the origin information to his phone. It will provide them with all of the ingredient sources as well as a carbon footprint number to aid in the decision to purchase a product.