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Wireless Sensor (WISER) Track-and-Trace: Autonomous, Cost Effective, Item-Level Food Safety from Field to Fork

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2012-00031
Agency Tracking Number: 2012-00031
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.13
Solicitation Number: USDA-NIFA-SBIR-003497
Solicitation Year: 2012
Award Year: 2012
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
2513 STAFFORD AVE, Raleigh, NC, 27607-7242
DUNS: 800443819
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Elaine Rideout
 (919) 833-8253
Business Contact
 Elaine Rideout
Title: CEO
Phone: (919) 833-8253
Research Institution
Innovation in perishable foodstuff track-and-trace is of critical importance to cost and time-sensitive customers such as the food industry where spoilage is of concern, safety and security are paramount, and counterfeit and bio-terrorism prevention are urgent priorities. The proposed research would evaluate the feasibility of a low cost, highly accurate track and trace supply chain technology that would minimize the recall costs of contamination events in the food supply chain, and ensure source authentication. Research will develop and test a novel autonomous track-and-trace system customized for perishable foodstuffs that would be feasible for widespread industry adoption in that it is cost-effective (no portal infrastructure), accurate, and easy-to-use. Research deliverables will include identifying optimal RF labeling and packing manufacturing solutions to support integrated item/pallet- level field-to-fork tracking of North Carolina agricultural products, and optimizing the technology for the controlled temperature/humidity/air circulation environments required for shipment and in-transit storage of food perishables. The mobile device prototype design will undergo rigorous tests of its ability to track, accurately compute, map, and log the location of tagged goods in real time. Bar code integration will allow for the ability to track both at the pallet level and item level. The accuracy of the application of WISER's redundant radio location technology will be evaluated, along with system costs which should be substantially below conventional practice because it requires no physical infrastructure, has low TCO, and can be customized to user technology and coverage density preferences. In addition, the technology will be evaluated as a potential application for governments and regulators interested in mitigating the impact of contamination events and even allowing for the "lock-down" of a problematic supply chain, for example in the event of a bio-terrorism threat to a specific food product. An inexpensive, easy-to-use, and accurate tracking solution would facilitate the ability of regulators to establish manifest tracking mandates acceptable to industry. To the degree that the nation's agriculture and food supply can be electronically certified and closely monitored electronically, protection and safety of the food supply will be enhanced, and contamination event victims and dollar losses minimized.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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