But are food-safe microchips tasty?

But are food-safe microchips tasty?
Jun 23, 2023

A recent survey backs up the plans of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium to address the food traceability of its cheese products.

By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com; Image of a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese wheel showing its casein labeling and more.

Although the science fiction movie Blade Runner never actually answered whether or not androids dream of electric sheep, it is perhaps more imperative for the Canadian consumer to discern if food-safe microchips taste good.

No, we don’t mean micro chips, as in teensy portions of Old Dutch, Lays, or Hostess; rather, Farms.com is talking about microchips and computer data—though it would be nice if there was a Salt n’ Vinegar microchip.

We aren’t quite sure why Italy cares—though we’re glad they do—but Italy’s Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium has provided its take on the results of a recently-performed Angus Reid survey on Canadians’ thoughts on food security.

The survey’s main takeaway is that Canadians overwhelmingly feel it is important to understand the ingredients they are putting in their bodies.

The survey looked at the responses of 1,504 Canadians to determine how much people value food traceability, natural ingredients, and feeling safe with what they are putting in their bodies.

Overall, nine-in-10 Canadians (91 per cent) feel it is important to understand the ingredients they are putting in their bodies. When asked about their food concerns, 84 per cent said they feel concerned with where their food comes from—a percentage that increased with the age of the respondent.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
It is important to understand the ingredients I am putting in my body.91%90%93%89%90%94%
I am concerned about where my food comes from.84%81%87%79%83%88%
I am a big advocate of farm-to-table foods.79%78%79%75%77%82%

“We conducted this survey to get a benchmark on Canadians’ food habits and concerns,” said Nicola Bertinelli, president of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium. “Not only can we see that Canadians understand the importance of quality ingredients, but the results highlight their concerns about food safety.”
The study shows that Canadians value quality ingredients. Three-quarters of Canadians (74 per cent) are willing to pay more for quality foods. Despite the increase in organic, non-GMO, and natural foods, only four-in-10 Canadians believe these claims.

Food traceability is an increasing concern for Canadians, as 76 per cent said they need to know where their food comes from and agree that being able to trace their food to its source makes them feel safer.

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
I value quality foods, and I’m willing to pay more for them.74%76%71%78%72%72%
I believe food product claims (non-GMO, 100% natural, organic, etc.).40%38%42%41%34%44%
Being able to trace my food to its source makes me feel safer.76%73%78%78%74%75%

Smaller than a grain of salt
New technology can deliver previously unseen levels of traceability, inventory tracking and control, product authentication, quality assurance testing, product serialization, and consumer safety with innovative, food-safe digital tags.

To support Canadians’ desire for food safety and traceability, the Consortium of Parmigiano Reggiano has partnered with Kaasmerk Matec (Kaasmerk) and p-Chip Corporation (p-Chip) to launch a line of food-safe and secure traceability digital labels for its Parmigiano Reggiano cheese wheels.

This partnership was embarked upon to complete an innovative program for a device integrated into a casein label on the rind of Parmigiano Reggiano. The casein label is a method of marking batch numbers and dates onto the cheese—it is made of natural casein, and once applied, it becomes part of the rind.

This creates a new industry-standard food identification method. This scannable food tag is smaller than a grain of salt and highly durable, delivering next-generation visibility and allowing consumers to track their product from start to finish.

“Parmigiano Reggiano is one of the world’s oldest and most famous cheeses, and it is a product that symbolizes Italian produce,” added Bertinelli. “By being the first to incorporate these secure digital labels onto our cheese wheels, we can continue to ensure consumer safety, bringing the traceability and authentication of our products to meet industry 4.0 technological targets.”

The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium is the protection body that includes all Parmigiano Reggiano producers, who process the milk from the farmers of the area of origin into this PDO cheese complying with the specifications. It was set up in 1934 and has the purpose of protecting, defending, and promoting the product, safeguarding its typicality, and disseminating its knowledge worldwide.

Every wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano is given a mark of origin (the well-known "dots" and, starting in 2002, also a "casein plate"). Furthermore, every wheel is quality tested at the age of about 12 months. Only if the wheel passes this test, is it branded with the selection mark (oval mark). The certification of conformity with the Specifications is given by the P-R Quality Control Body on behalf of the European Union and the Ministry.

More information on the Consortium may be found at www.parmigianoreggiano.com.


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