Edible Innovation: When a Simple Tool Can Make You a Chemist

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Edible Innovation: When a Simple Tool Can Make You a Chemist

From Singapore to the USA and all around Europe, Edible Innovations profiles food makers that engage in improving the global food system at every stage, from production to distribution to eating and shopping. Join us as we explore the main trends in the industry from a maker perspective. Chiara Cecchini of Future Food Institute — an ecosystem with a strong educational core that promotes food innovation as a key tool to tackle the great challenges of the future — introduces you to the faces, stories, and experiences of food makers around the globe.

From McDonald’s salads to Costco salmon and Chipotle burritos, food recalls are on the rise. In the U.S, the FDA annual product recall has jumped a whopping 92.7 percent in the past five years alone. Paralleled by a growing organic and localism movement, consumers are finally starting to ask questions about what is in their food, what it has been treated with, and where it is being made. Many start-ups are beginning to test the capabilities of technology in early detection, but one unique company is set out to change the entire supply chain.

Israeli-based start-up Inspecto is developing portable kits that can be used for early detection of pesticides and food contaminants. Am I serious?! Yes, I am! The device is built on the principle that the user does not have to be a skilled chemist or technician, meaning no more time-consuming and expensive lab technicians or third parties. Instead, anyone with the kit can operate the scanner and receive the results and data in real time. This what is means building something for everybody. This group of makers hopes the easy process will help the kits make their way through the entire food supply chain. Farmers can measure pesticide residue on crops to adhere to regulations, retailers can check for cross-contamination during processing, and supermarkets can scan products before it hits the shelves. As the food miles increase and the global market expands, Inspecto can even be used by border control agents to check foreign food imports.

Avner Avidan and Yair Moneta started this project few year ago. After graduating from the Chinese agrifood tech accelerator Bits x Bites and the 2017 MassChallenge Israel accelerator program, they now hope to disrupt the food industry and make a social impact. The start-up has partnered with Strauss Coffee and Shinho—a Chinese condiment company—to run pilot tests of the product.

With much hope riding on Inspecto, we can hope to have a more visible discussion on food safety. They will finally hit the the market in the next six to 12 months, and with the global food industry growing ever bigger, it won’t be a moment too soon!

Written with the precious support of Lisa Koga


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Chiara is fascinated by food as a means to impact bodies, minds, and environment. She has studied international business in three different countries, and is an alumni of the Food Innovation Program and US Director at the Future Food Institute.

Based in California, she is also a Research Scholar at Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, working on building the first comprehensive Internet of Food to enable food care through food systems semantics. She is a selected member of Barilla Center Food Nutrition Foundation, a Research Affiliate at Institute For The Future, Board Member at Maker Faire and selected member of the Global Shapers, a young global network of innovators promoted by the World Economic Forum.

She is passionate about social entrepreneurship and impact investing, and aims to leave her mark on society.

View more articles by Chiara Cecchini
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