Over the past five years, scientists at the University of Florida have been working with the US Army to help improve the delivery of ready-to-eat meal rations, MREs, to troops in the field. The challenge for the Army was that these rations were designed to have a shelf-life of about 40 years under normal weather conditions but extreme heat in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan had reduced that to as little as four weeks in some cases, compromising the entire food chain and creating enormous costs.
Researchers used radio-frequency ID (RFID) chips to wirelessly monitor MREs across the entire supply chain for changes in temperature and other factors, and developed a shelf-life prediction model to help reduce waste while ensuring food safety. You can read about the study here:
It's a perfect example of how new technologies life RFID can be used to strengthen supply chains and identify key risk factors and we can definitely expand the range of data that could be acquired to, for example, test environmental factors affecting chemicals, pharmaceuticals or sensitive components that could be affected by changes in temperature or humidity.
The full benefit of these technologies, however, will only be realised if institutions can be persuaded to share their data in an open-source environment to create a global overview of environmental or other factors within the supply chain that would have a direct impact on product safety or quality.
Category: Food security: Food waste, Other
Location: Gainesville, FL, United States