International Business Machines Corp. (IBM)’s Solution For Sequencing Supply Chain
International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) seeks to bolster food safety by bringing technology to the table to help with food supply chain sequencing. The company announced that it would initially study how to do food sequencing at the factories of food conglomerate known as Mars. The research, by IBM and Mars, could take up to five years, but the results are expected to lead to safer food. In the U.S., food related illnesses cause thousands of deaths every year.
The results of the research that IBM intends to carry out for a period of between three and five years should lead to better measures in the detection of food safety problems.
Sequencing genes of food organisms
Under what has been named the Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain, IBM and Mars will work together to sequence the genes of the organism that are food in the food chains. The idea is to understand the meta genomics of safe farms, factories, grocery stores and other areas where food is handled so as to determine the normal safe conditions of such places. According to IBM’s Jeff Wesler, understanding the normal safe conditions of the places where food is handled is important. Food sequencing will enable food processors, handlers and regulators to quickly detect deviations to prevent the spread of a problem in the food supply chain.
Food contamination has mostly been linked to the outbreak of E. coli, salmonella and some other bacteria and chemicals used in the food supply chain.
International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) acknowledges that food companies already have their ways to test for contaminants. However, using meta genomics helps to enhance food safety, especially in a case where a company may not have a reason to suspect the existence of a problem.
$78 billion adverse impact to the economy
According to the CDC, one in six Americas suffers from food borne illnesses very year, and about 3,000 deaths in the U.S. are caused by food borne diseases. A report published in 2012 estimated that food borne illnesses in the U.S. cost the country about $78 billion annually. These are problems that International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) hopes it will be able to eliminate through sequencing of the food supply chain.
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