Aanika Biosciences, a biotech startup, has developed edible ‘biological barcodes’ that can be used to trace the origin of produce in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak or product recall. The barcodes, made from inactivated bacterial spores, can be sprayed onto crops at the source and digitally encoded with information such as the farm address or lot code. They can then be ‘read’ like barcodes with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, providing answers within hours. Aanika has bundled its barcodes with insurance policies to incentivize growers and food producers to adopt the technology. The insurance policies, backed by reinsurance company Green Light RE, offer better coverage for product recalls and other issues related to traceability. Aanika is also working on developing tags containing antimicrobial peptides to protect against pathogens. The company is targeting medium and small-sized companies in the hopes that larger companies will eventually mandate this type of coverage for their suppliers.
Aanika Biosciences bundles bio-barcodes with insurance