Keeping an Eye on Food
Creating More Food Safety, Efficient Transport
Foodborne diseases are a significant public health concern, and helping to prevent them is key for food suppliers. Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), every year in the United States, 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne illnesses.*
iProtect, a company that specializes in food safety, teamed up with Lab 651 founding partner Justin Grammens to use his mobile app and data analysis experience to help improve food safety. They designed a program that would help identify areas to improve food safety for a variety of food clients, including McDonald’s and California Sprouts. “We wanted to create an application flexible enough to help streamline and improve food safety throughout the distribution process for a variety of business models, from the warehouse distribution to retail restaurants,” Grammens says.
Reducing Waste, Saving Money
While developing standard protocols and best practices in food distribution, iProtect and Grammens saw an opportunity to also help companies reduce waste and save money. “We’re always looking for ways to help companies with their bottom line,” Grammens says, “and the information about productivity and waste was available: it was a matter of making it meaningful and adding it to the dashboard.” The partnership created an application called Shepherd, a nod to the way the program would help guide food safety and service operators into compliance and safety.
One of the first clients was McDonald’s Corp. Grammens and his team developed a cloud-based infrastructure platform to collect hamburger temperature while also tracking waste so that restaurant managers could assign tasks and be alerted when things fell outside of certain parameters. “This helped not only with food safety but the bottom line,” notes Grammens.
McDonald’s gained greater efficiencies in its production and more knowledge to achieve greater food safety.
For California Sprouts, one of the largest sprout growers in the United States, Grammens and his team conceptualized a way to customize its app to track several key metrics within a growing facility. The mobile app would alert growers when certain tasks needed to be performed, as well as assist warehouses with refrigeration temperatures. “This system was built to be modular and flexible enough so that clients could adopt any portion of the system that they needed,” Grammens says.
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