Neogen adds blockchain tech to food, animal safety

LANSING—Neogen Corp. (NASDAQ: NEOG) announced that it has a new partnership with food industry blockchain pioneer Ripe Technology Inc. (ripe.io) to adapt innovative blockchain technology for use with Neogen’s food safety diagnostics and animal genomics.

Blockchain is a form of digital technology that “chains” together “blocks” of information in such a way that it creates a permanent, unalterable, and secure record. In the food and livestock industries, blockchain could be used to create the history of products and animals as they go through their entire production cycles.

“Blockchain has tremendous potential throughout the food and livestock industries, both to verify the authenticity of premium products, such as cage-free eggs, and enhance the traceability of issues that require correction, such as those that lead to product recalls,” said John Adent, Neogen CEO. “Blockchain technology has a lot to offer both our food safety diagnostic and animal genomic customers, as the technology permanently connects a tremendous amount of potentially critical data, including results from Neogen’s tests, to a food product or animal. There are countless potential benefits to adopting the technology. For example, the genomic profile of a dairy cow could be connected with the feed the animal eats, its medical history, barn environment, quantity and quality of the milk it produces, and more. Blockchain can serve to optimize the entire supply chains of many of the markets that Neogen serves. Ripe.io is the perfect partner for us as we work to adapt the technology to our industry. They have real-life experience with working with food producers, food distributors, restaurants and food retailers—all key market segments for us.”

Said Raja Ramachandran, ripe.io CEO: “Neogen’s diagnostics and DNA expertise can add the highest degree of transparency and factual correctness for critical issues around authenticity and accuracy on food recalls. We believe this will change the game in food transparency for improved quality assessment from the beginning of the supply chain all the way to consumers.”

The blockchain technology will be initially separate from Neogen’s recently announced Neogen Analytics platform, but when fully integrated, Neogen officials said they believe the two technologies can form the basis for advanced data-driven decisions for its customers. Neogen Analytics will enable Neogen customers to automate food safety workflows, and continuously monitor and analyze food risk data generated by the company’s food safety diagnostic products. By automating and connecting multiple data points through diagnostic testing in a production facility, the food safety data analytics platform enables food producers and processors to harness their data to create a holistic picture around areas of risk that can guide operational decisions.

San Francisco, Calif.-based Ripe Technology is developing a platform where everyone will be able to access transparent and reliable information on the origin, the journey and quality of their food. The company has funding support from Maersk Ventures and Relish Works and offices in both San Francisco and New York City.

Neogen develops and markets products dedicated to food and animal safety. The company’s Food Safety Division markets dehydrated culture media and diagnostic test kits to detect foodborne bacteria, natural toxins, food allergens, drug residues, plant diseases, and sanitation concerns. Neogen’s Animal Safety Division develops animal genomics, and manufactures a variety of animal healthcare products, including diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, veterinary instruments, wound care and disinfectants. More at neogen.com.

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