On October 21, 2019, the FDA held a public meeting with a broad cross-section of industry stakeholders to build a shared vision around A New Era of Smarter Food Safety, a campaign intended to strengthen the agency’s protection of the food supply.
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CAT Squared is the first manufacturing execution system (MES) provider in the food industry to become an onboarding partner for IBM Food TrustTM, a blockchain-enabled global network of food chain participants that securely connects supply chain data across the ecosystem with trust and transparency.
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Standing behind Governor Hutchinson from left Jeannie Stroth (IBM), Marla Johnson (BCRS), Senator Joyce Elliott (sponsor), Evan Thompson, Ken Hubbell (BCRS), Samantha Lindstrom, Kathy Barbeire (CAT Squared), Richard Bearden, and Jennifer Peper (Aristotle Interactive).
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On March 29, members of the CAT Squared team attended the 2019 Blockchain Conference hosted by the Center for Blockchain Excellence at the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business. The conference included several keynote speakers including Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas. There were also breakout sessions with panels of blockchain innovators and opportunities for developers to break out their laptops and practice interacting with blockchain development platforms. However, of all the sessions we attended, the one I found most exciting was a discussion led by Golden State Foods (GSF) Chief Technology Officer Guilda Javaheri.
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For nearly 25 years, CAT Squared has developed manufacturing execution systems (MES) to manage plant-floor processes for food processing facilities. CAT Squared’s MES delivers end-to-end traceability from receiving of ingredients and dry goods through shipping of final product. By combining our MES with blockchain and other IIoT technologies, CAT Squared can now expand the reach of our capabilities outside the four walls of the plant, connecting all participants of the food value chain.
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On September 24, Walmart released a letter to their leafy greens suppliers requiring end-to-end traceability back to farm by September 30, 2019. This mandate is in response to multiple high-profile recalls and outbreaks associated with these types of products. To help their suppliers meet Walmart’s traceability goal, the letter refers suppliers to the IBM Food Trust network, a blockchain solution pioneered through a partnership between Walmart and IBM to improve food safety.
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On June 27, 2018, CAT Squared along with dozens of business, government, agriculture, and education leaders from across Arkansas met with Governor Asa Hutchinson and IBM to explore the evolving use of blockchain technology to track the distribution of food from farm to fork. This workshop was a part of the Governor’s new initiative: Blockchain for Arkansas, or BC4AR, an initiative to coordinate and align safety and distribution efforts among key industry leaders.