Clear Labs, a startup company that sequences human genomes in clinical trials, has recently raised 6.5 million in a Series A Funding to create a molecular data index that includes allergen and contamination data in hopes of becoming the “Google of food.”
“Our aim is really to build this comprehensive database upon which we can make food indexable, searchable and with all the types of genetic analytics you can run on top of that,” Ghorashi told TechCrunch over the phone.
For the past two years, Clear Labs has been collecting samples in the United States and analyzing them for genetic collection. (1) The company now holds the world’s largest database of food genetic markers and it wants to use the data to change how manufacturers manage the food supply.
Unlike other resources that monitor food contamination, Clear Labs aims to index all pre-made foods into their genomic database. Thus, they are seeking to create a future where food manufacturers can be proactive in food safety rather than reactive to outbreaks and recalls.
“It’s all about changing the paradigm from food safety to food quality.” — Sasan Amini
According to the Non GMO Project more than 80% of all packaged foods contain genetically modified ingredients, putting the food industry under the microscope as a growing number of consumers distrust this new “frankenfood.”
The debate now rages in Congress with the passing of a bill this month that would cancel the requirement of labelling GMO food products. If the label war is lost, those who are opposed to the Bill can look to Clear Labs for an answer.
Clear Labs was established for food retailers and manufacturers who aim to keep close watch on the safety and integrity of their products; (2) by identifying the species of plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi in a sample, they can determine the authenticity of an ingredient (whether the fish in those fish sticks is really what you think it is, for example). They can also determine if food is contaminated with microbes or if the product contains allergens or genetically modified ingredients.
The company itself will not discuss whether or not the food in question is “bad” or “good,” their vision is simply one of transparency — a future where you can use your smartphone to scan the barcode label of a product in the grocery store and see the molecular data. The co-founders are hoping for a consumer application to be released to the public within 5-7 years.
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