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Food Inspection On App
July 11, 2016 News

How do you normally decide if the food you are consuming is safe and properly regulated? Our assumption is that it has been regulated and therefore safe for consumption since it has made it to the shelves of our local food store. However there have been numerous cases over the years of food being recalled for not meeting standards or for not being approved by FDA but somehow, still finding its way onto food shelves and into our homes. The system isn’t as full proof as we would like it to be it would seem.

That fact is about to change in the near future thanks to officials and technicians in China who have decided to take a scientific angle and invoke the use of Big Data Analytics in the interest of food safety to mitigate these public concerns.

A pioneer of China’s big data economy, Guizhou Academy of Testing and Analysis, now allows consumers to access food inspection data with their cell phones. The app is known as “Shi-An-Ce” (test for safe food). It will scan bar codes displayed on the product to bring up all information on inspection reports, and reports by the food safety watchdog to consumers and on top of that, its user interface will give the consumer the ability to request further information and inspection on a particular food source.

Operated under the provincial government, Guizhou Food Safety Cloud involves more than 20,000 enterprises and hundreds of testing agencies, amassing data on as many as 35,551 products since it was set up in 2014 in an effort to build a food safety big data platform.

Though some fear the move will increase prices on for the end user, Deng Wei, chairman of the board of directors of the Bright Oceans Corp., (BOCO) says otherwise.

Giving the case study of Wuchang rice, which is grown in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, Deng said they used satellite data from the land resources department in Wuchang, through BOCO’s investigations and found that their annual output was at just over 700,000 tonnes. The Wuchang brand however had 10 million tonnes sales per annum. Which meant 90% of the product found on the market was fake.

A radical move by BOCO in 2014, was to issue bar codes in each and every rice pack manufactured by Wuchang so consumers would know which were the original Wuchang Rice packs. Wuchang City government also took stern action against errant suppliers and within 12 months established fair pricing and trade for farmers and consumers alike.

“Next, we will integrate the inspection data from the food and drug authorities at the local level, and data from agricultural and customs departments and make this available to the public. So, it will also improve the food safety supervising mechanism,” said Teng Jiacai, deputy director of China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA).