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Investing in Tech to Advance Food Safety

Jerri Lynn Pickett, Associate Director of Lab Services  

 

Jerri Lynn Pickett

Helping my company produce safe food is a personal passion since I feed my active family Tyson Foods products, and countless friends do the same. Because I’m a microbiologist, I have a unique behind-the-scenes look at everything we do to help make sure food is safe for consumers.

I work in our flagship food safety and research lab in Springdale, Arkansas, where we perform literally thousands of tests each week for both monitoring and compliance. My lab is part of Tyson Foods’ Food Safety and Laboratory Services Network, a group of more than 17 laboratories that provide analytical testing, research and technical services to more than 100 Tyson Foods processing operations, as well as a variety of other customers involved with food safety and quality, and other areas where it’s important to understand impacts of microbiology.

Because producing safe food is important to Tyson Foods’ business, and my field of study, I’m excited that Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of Tyson Foods, has invested in Clear Labs, a start-up hardware and software company dedicated to food safety.

As part of Tyson Ventures’ core investment strategies, the Tyson Ventures team looks at companies focused on engineering innovative and sustainable methods of supplying protein to a growing population. Clear Labs’ focus on food safety, speed and accuracy makes sense to us.

Clear Labs has built a platform that’s automated intelligent next generation sequencing dedicated to food safety testing. To the layperson, this means a Clear Labs machine is able to test multiple samples at once, then read and compare those samples to a giant database and return results in minutes. Current technologies give a positive or negative within 24 hours, but to get more detailed information requires additional testing over four to six days.

We’re excited about the direction of this technology and equally excited to be working with Clear Labs. My hope is that Tyson Ventures continues to make investments in other innovative food safety technologies in the future.

Published May 30, 2019.

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