The FDA has launched a challenge to spur the development of affordable, tech-enabled traceability tools for human and animal foods. Through this challenge, the agency seeks food traceability solutions that use economic models that are affordable, with costs that are proportional to the benefits received, and can scale to encourage widespread adoption.

The agency says the primary goal of the challenge is to encourage stakeholders—including technology providers, public health advocates, entrepreneurs and innovators from all disciplines and around the world—to develop traceability hardware, software or data analytics platforms that are low-cost or no-cost to the end user—thereby enabling human and animal food operations of all sizes to implement affordable traceability systems, create shared value and scale to widespread adoption.

FDA says that the secondary goal of this challenge is to promote innovation. The New Era of Smarter Food Safety blueprint that outlines the initiative’s goals over the next decade calls for the FDA to encourage the creation of financial models that provide solutions that are proportional to benefits derived from participating, and enable food producers of all sizes to participate in a scalable, cost-effective way.

Tech-enabled traceability is one of the foundational core elements of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety initiative. However, affordability can be a barrier to the adoption of tech-enabled traceability systems—especially for smaller companies. 

The FDA will accept submissions through July 30 and intends to announce up to 12 winners at the end of the challenge. To submit, visit