Food Safety Monitoring Through Mobile Data Collection

English: A view of the Centers for Disease Con...

A view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the increasing use of food products originating from both national and international sources, accurate and timely inspection has become increasingly important in order to ward off public health threats. However, protecting humans from food-related illnesses requires constant vigilance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, foodborne illnesses from over 250 pathogens or toxins affect as many as 48 million Americans per year.

Many of these food-related illnesses originate from bacterial disease agents, such as Campylobacter, Escherichia coli, Listeria, Salmonella, Vibrio and Yersinia. Disease agents originate from raw or undercooked meat, seafood or egg products, contaminated vegetables or fruit, unpasteurized dairy products, contaminated water, infected animals, or contact with infected humans. Other illnesses are the result of contamination from naturally occurring toxins in foods such as mushrooms or shellfish.

State and federal public health agencies typically determine food safety standards and conduct inspections. These agencies determine the standards for restaurant and plant facilities, product contents, food processing procedures, and the presence of any microbial or chemical adulterants.

The conventional model for correlating data from state and federal health inspectors has been a paper-based system, which later evolved to a computerized system. As the use of tablet computers and smartphones became more prevalent, state and federal governments are now beginning to adopt mobile data collection systems for their convenience and portability.

These mobile data collection systems have simplified the overall process of data collection from multiple sources along the food supply chain, such as farms, dairies, processing plants, refrigerated and unrefrigerated food transportation vehicles, restaurants and supermarkets. A mobile data collection system such as COMMANDmobile® offers unique benefits for field-based food inspection personnel and health agencies, such as:

  • Ease of big data collection and processing from mobile and non-mobile sources
  • Quicker dispatching of food inspectors to areas of suspected contamination, so that contaminated facilities can be more quickly detected and shut down
  • Real-time geotagging of inspection efforts to determine inspectors’ progress
  • Multimedia platform support, enabling the COMMANDmobile system to be easily adapted for the existing operating systems of smartphones and tablet computers
  • Customized inspection forms to accommodate user requirements
  • Ease of uploading and viewing data online
  • Improved inventory management via barcodes
  • Full user support via online documentation, tutorials, email and phone
  • Quicker data processing, enabling financial resources and personnel to be routed to areas with the greatest demand

In order to view the COMMANDmobile system, visit our website for more details.

Related links:
FDA’s Mobile Data Collection Better Detects Tainted Eggs
ICT in Agriculture Module 12: Improving Food Safety and Traceability

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About DeAnna Davidson

DeAnna Davidson is a proven technologist and business leader who is passionate about the power of mobile computing to revolutionize a business or industry, and dedicated to helping organizations use mobile, wireless, and web technologies to their advantage.

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