Food safety firm receives £2M investment

Dr Richard Steeves (l) and Kieran Kelly

A food safety company in Northern Ireland is to receive a £2M investment, to help boost traceability in the global food chain.

Entrepreneur Dr Richard Steeves, who recently sold health management services firm Synergy Health for £1.6bn ($2bn), is to make the investment in Belfast-based Arc-Net.

The firm has developed a cloud-based system that enables food producers and retailers to track deliveries and ensure their authenticity to prevent food fraud.

Keiran Kelly, chief executive of Arc-Net, said the funding would enable the company to accelerate and support its rapid growth.

Support its rapid growth

The fact that [Steeves] shares our vision for Arc-Net is a massive endorsement of our service, our strategy, and the potential of our company,” he said.

“Arc-Net’s solution gives companies and brand owners the ability to have independent validation of their food quality. We see significant demand for what we have to offer and this investment will put us in a very strong position to capitalise on that.”

The threat of food fraud has prompted suppliers and producers to invest in systems that use The Internet of Things – the network of physical objects that are connected together to enable the collection and exchange of data – to manage deliveries.

According to business consultancy PwC, food fraud costs the industry more than £32bn each year.

Improve food safety

Last year, chief scientific advisor to the Food Standards Agency Professor Guy Poppy said various smart technologies would become more available to improve food safety.

Meanwhile, a food industry network set up to combat the threat of fraud in the supply chain invited food and drink manufacturers to join its membership base.

Created on the recommendation of the Elliot report into the horsemeat scandal, the Food Industry Intelligence Network (FIIN) was described as a “safe haven” to collect, collate, analyse and disseminate information and intelligence.

The network’s remit covers supply chain integrity and authenticity but doesn’t address industry programmes for food safety control and reporting.

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