Internet of Things to bolster food safety

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Internet of Things technology will one day be widely used to boost food security in China, following recent scandals involving dangerous chemicals being added to milk powder and fruit drinks, industry officials told a forum yesterday in Shanghai.

The Internet of Things, one of the major projects in the city's 12th Five-Year Plan, refers to wireless connections among various devices such as cars and home appliances. It's widely used in cold chain transportation, mobile payment and modern medical sectors.

"People should feel safe buying food. That's the reason why we hope to adopt the technology in the food security sector," Zheng Lirong, president of Fudan University's School of Information Science and Engineering, told the Internet of Things China 2011 forum yesterday.

Through labels imbedded with microchips, food producers and industry regulators can easily track a food's point of origin, location and the temperature and humidity of its surroundings, industry officials said at the forum.

In several supermarkets, labels allow customers to see every point in the production and distribution of some foods such as beef and seafood.

Several seafood providers have been testing Internet of Things technology during transport to ensure proper temperatures are maintained and food stays fresh.

With the technology, China Telecom's Shanghai branch has established a system to monitor local water quality. The system can warn people in real-time if the turbidity and PH level has surpassed a safe line previously set up.

"Internet of Things can change our lives and improve work efficiency," said An Youpeng, a senior official at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

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