Could a Smartphone Stop a Food Poisoning Outbreak in Its Tracks?
Purdue University has come up with technology, a device, which hooks up to a smartphone and allows growers to examine their foods for bacteria within a matter of minutes. According to a report on Futurism.com, this new tech has generated interest at a time when one Californian has been killed and 75 people in several states have been sickened after consuming E. coli-tainted romaine lettuce. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised the public to avoid eating lettuce from Yuma, Arizona.
Can Tech Help Prevent Outbreaks?
So, how does the technology work? First, the produce is dipped in solution full of phages, a virus for bacteria. An extra chemical in the water lights up infected E. coli. A smartphone’s camera can pick up on the glowing bacteria, if it is present. This might sound complicated, but experts say this system is much faster and easier to use compared to current testing procedures, which could take several days to yield results. Purdue researchers say their goal is to make sure tainted foods don’t make it to the market in the first place.
Similarly OwlTing, a startup founded in 2013 has proposed using its tech to track every step food produces make Their goal is to have shoppers pick up a food, scan a sticker with their phone and get a quick history of how the food was treated and where it was grown and processed. While these technologies are great, there is still a problem when it comes to federal agencies such as CDC sharing information with state public health agencies. When they fail to get information quickly and effectively to the public, an outbreak tends to last longer.
Who is Responsible?
A large part of the responsibility of preventing food-borne illnesses still rests on the food growers and producers. Restaurants and establishments that serve food also have a responsibility to ensure foods are stored at the right temperatures and that they follow all safety standards to prevent food from getting contaminated and causing people to get sick.
If you have been sickened by a food-borne illness, it would be in your best interest to contact your medical provider and get the treatment you need right away. Report your illness to the local health agency, which tracks these outbreaks. Contact an experienced California food poisoning lawyer who will help you hold the at-fault parties accountable and secure compensation for losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization and pain and suffering.