Using Big Data – in the food safety sector


Trying to emphasize on the importance of food safety information and data is probably meaningless; we are discussing about data that can be used for saving millions of lives each year so its management and sharing is of highest importance at a global level. And when we are talking about related information aggregated through various sources, we are talking about big data at the service of the food safety sector.

In this context, Agroknow CEO Nikos Manouselis made a trip to Cranfield, Bedfordshire, UK in order to participate to an event simply titled “Using Big Data“, organised by the Cranfield University. … Click to read the full post

What on earth are Mars and IBM doing?


There are many discussions around the identification, registration and description of big datasets for agriculture, food and environment; but moving on from such introductory or academic exercises, how is big data actually used in practice for serving actual causes and solving real problems? An article on Wired shows a number of examples; however, we were looking for something bigger than that.

We recently came across the collaboration between IBM and Mars, which is expected to change the way that food safety is perceived; what these two giants (in technology and food context, respectively) are actually working on an index that will be a gold standard for food and health officials globally to understand what triggers contamination and the spread of foodborne diseases.… Click to read the full post

Food Safety Information Leaders Come Together


At the District of Columbia (D.C.) lies the capital of the United States of America, the beautiful Washington D.C. And it is there, at the World Bank Group headquarters, where a number of great minds will meet on October 14th, to decide on the next steps for developing an information sharing infrastructure that can help the world scale up food safety capacity building activities.

At the World Bank headquarters, in a glorious and impressive building.

At the World Bank headquarters, in a glorious and impressive building.

As part of the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP), the international public-private network that the World Bank facilitates, the Knowledge & Learning Systems Working Group (WG) will come together once more to plan ahead on the way that the various components and services of this information infrastructure should be implemented.… Click to read the full post

Agro-Know got funded for Foodakai: an intelligent app to harmonise access to food safety information


One of the good news of this summer was that Agro-Know, together with EPI Interactive, have been selected for funding from the European Commission in order to develop further the concept of Foodakai: an intelligent online application that aims to help consumers and small food businesses get better and more quickly informed about emerging food risks and relevant food alerts in their area.

Food safety is one of the hottest topics these days; food has become more complex than ever with the addition of ingredients for coloring, flavor, preservation etc.… Click to read the full post

The Hague Declaration and the Agro-Know use case on food safety


Some days ago we shared the news about the Hague Declaration on Open Knowledge – and the fact that we are proud to be among the original signatories. Since then, there has been a lot of activity around the declaration: many more signatories, updates on the initiative’s website and the public availability of the initiative’s declaration.

Even though we keep an eye on the updates of the Hague Declaration, we were surprised (in a really good way!) to see the list of use cases available through the website and the Agro-Know one to be on the top of the page (one of the perks of having your brand name starting with an A)!… Click to read the full post

Openness and e-infrastructures for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)


On May 13th 2015, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Unit of the European Commission responsible for e-infrastructures, organised a workshop on the way European e-infrastructures may support the activities of EFSA. The meeting followed up a series of initial discussions and brainstorming between EFSA and various EC Units on how data-related activities and open policies may be aligned so that synergies may be found. It also came at an important turning point for EFSA that is working on becoming an open science organisation: the Open EFSA initiative has already made available a position paper for public consultation; it has organised a workshop with its key stakeholders; and it has a preliminary implementation plan in place.… Click to read the full post

First Issue of the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) Newsletter


GFSP_logoThose registered in the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) mailing list must have received the first issue of the GFSP digital newsletter; a publication intended to be published quarterly, highlighting news and events related to the Partnership and its members.

The newsletter is nicely divided in four sections, namely Features, Voices, News and Updates (both from GFSP Secretariat and our partners) and Events.

In this first issue, the major news items are:

The newsletter also features two interviews with researchers working on food safety as well as a detailed list of GFSP-related events.… Click to read the full post

Agro-Know & Future Food Hack 2015


GODAN_logoThere has been a lot of discussion around a hackathon to be collocated with the 2015 GODAN Workshop during the preparations and organization of the workshop itself. I was happy to be personally involved in the planning/organization of the workshop with a great team of people from USDA, DFID (UK), CABI, FAO and CGIAR, among others and the discussion on related hackathons and other satellite events on open agri-food data was on the table. What I had in my hands was the potential contribution from our two FP7 projects activated in this field; agINFRA and SemaGrow (Agro-Know being an active partner in both), as well as the support from the rest of the team.… Click to read the full post

Agro-Know in GODAN 2015 Workshop & Future Food Hack


GODANGODAN (The Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition) is an initiative which, as its name states pretty clearly, fosters global actions that create and share agricultural and nutritional open data. From its birth at the Open Government Partnership Summit, on October 2013, GODAN has undertaken the quest of formulating a “high- level” policy on open data. Being a mediator between current agriculture and open data activities, it has become a rally point for stake holders to gather and puzzle out long standing global problems. The realization that the absence of international policies and openness of data diminishes the effectiveness of research and innovation, prompted GODAN to generate a shared agenda with the intention to “increase the supply, quality and interoperability of data”.… Click to read the full post

A global alliance for food safety: reflections on the GFSP 2014 conference

Receiving a certificate (on the most smiling participant?) from Dr. Francois Le Gall of the World Bank who is responsible for the strategy and coordination of the GFSP

While writing this, I am on the plane for home and trying to adjust from the summer weather of Cape Town to the chilly weather of Athens. But most of all, I am trying to digest a wealth of ideas, images and impressions that I bring back with me from the annual conference of the Global Food Safety Partnership. I have to admit that I was not prepared for this. I was expecting a quite slow and boring conference, with some meetings of interest but with an emphasis on the process (how this huge partnership will function) rather than the substance (how impact will be achieved).… Click to read the full post