William Kanitz hopes to forever change our interaction with fresh food. The self-proclaimed farmer/computer geek (90% farmer, 10% geek by his count), aims to put tracking labels on whatever we eat.
Kanitz's company ScoringAg hopes to roll out the new labels in 2014.
"You can actually track food products anywhere in the world," he said. "Every grower, every handler of that food, all the way to market."
The stickers, reminiscent of QR codes or airline baggage tags, would offer consumers a wealth of detailed information about the path their meal took to the dinner table. Each label contains a unique code, which can be scanned or checked by smart phone.
In a recent demonstration, ScoringAg traced a watermelon back to a Florida field, with detailed data about every step of the journey. Kanitz said the information is constantly updated.
"Hourly, minute by minute," he said.
Who would pay for such an innovation? Kanitz said farmers and food producers would cover the cost of the tracking labels, which he estimated to be pennies per shipment.
Kanitz said food producers are clamoring to add safety measures to their products. A particular desire arises as companies seek to prove the safety of their supply chain in the event of food borne illness outbreak or a grocery recall.
"Every once in a while, we have mistakes," Kanitz said of the food supply.
Kanitz said food safety is at an intersection with modern technology, requiring farmers and food producers to do a better job documenting the route from farm to fork. And why not loop in consumers in the process, he asks.
"We have to create a fire wall," he said. "And I'm proud to say Scoring Ag is one of those firewalls."