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Chicken is local, but was she happy? GPS now talks about the history of your bird's life: NPR



A chicken legged GPS tracker means "that people who are likely to buy a chicken will know every step that the chicken has made," says food historian Robin Metcalf.

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A chicken legged GPS tracker means "that people who are likely to buy a chicken will know every step that the chicken has made," says food historian Robin Metcalf.

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Buyers are willing to pay a premium for ingredients that do not contain cells, organic or wild. But how do you really know if the chicken you eat spent your life happily biting on corn, or if your blackberry was grown locally and did not contain pesticides? Put a tracking device on it.

It's not as absurd as it sounds, says Robin Metcalf, a nutrition historian who teaches at the University of Texas at Austin. The Chicken's GPS tracker, says Metcalf, means "that people who will potentially buy that chicken will know every step that chicken has taken."

ZhongAn Online, a Chinese insurance company, has already equipped more than 100,000 chickens with trackers. Sensors download information, for example, how much training each chicken and what she ate. The company says the technology will be for 2,500 farms in China by next year.

They also work on face recognition technology so that consumers can one day be convinced that the organic chicken they saw on the farm is the same as the ending. on the plate.

The desire for more personal relationships with your entry was once just a feed for TV humor. In the pilot episode of Portland, two visitors ask their server about the organic courtesy of the chicken. To reassure them that their entrance was not only healthy, but also happy, their server gives them a biography of chicken and a photo. His name is Colin.

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Metcalf reports to NUR Lulo García-Navarro that in real life many consumers are sincerely interested in finding out where their food comes from and are willing to pay for it. This is part of the farm's movement to the table.

Tracking technology is already used by the largest California distributor of berries in Driscoll to monitor deliveries in real time. Metcalfe writes in his book Food Routes: Banana Growing in Iceland and other fairy tales from food logistics that consumers can keep their phones on QR-code on packaging their berries to see smiling faces

True push , however, from the part of the industrial sector.

"Obviously, they are trying to look at technology to reduce risk," says Metcalf. Suppliers want to check the safety of products passing through the system. This helps them avoid costly recalls and nightmares in public relations.

Tracking devices can accurately determine on what farm affected by avian influenza, or who produced an E. coli salad. They can also tell you how long it is produced and whether it has been exposed to high temperatures

Metcalfe says one of the major food retailers, Walmart, is testing green green vegetables such as spinach and salad. The idea is that as soon as the source of pollution is found, products can be withdrawn and destroyed, as opposed to the withdrawal of millions of pounds.

"So if you have a breakdown illness that we have just seen or broke out, as we have just seen with a novel salad or raw turkey, you can use this technology, moving along the supply chain to Being much more sensitive about where that happened and why it happened. "

Metcalfe says it's not clear how many manufacturers will cover this technology. Those who grow animals on an industrial scale do not quite aspire to allow the public to see what happens on their farms.

"How do you move food through the chain Remaining is, in essence, your intellectual property, "says Metcalf." And so you can not be ready to subscribe to this technology. "

Metcalf describes this bold new world as a mixed bag." The food system can be open to hacking "- she warns.

" I'm an optimist of technology, "says Metcalf." I see that he comes. It's already here. But as we pass through this type of tension between open, shared, secure and trusted. It will be very interesting to watch. "


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