SAN MATEO, CALIF. – The founder of Niman Ranch is part of a new venture that ensures the integrity of meat products.
Bill Niman is co-founder of Food In-Depth (FoodID), a startup with a mission to test meat and poultry for antibiotics and adulterants more affordably and effectively.
FoodID asserted that food safety claims like “antibiotic-free,” “never-ever-antibiotic” and “hormone-free,” are based on producer assertions, and are not validated by actual testing.
“For over 40 years, my mission has been to feed people delicious food from animals raised humanely, sensibly and in an environmentally friendly manner,” Niman said. “But while Americans are consuming more foods with label claims – and paying a premium for it – the claims are mostly unsubstantiated. This lack of testing troubled me because it meant people could not validate what was in their food. We founded FoodID to create full transparency and accountability in the food chain.”
The company said antibiotic resistant superbugs pose one of the biggest public health threats of our time.
“The excessive and improper use of antibiotics in livestock production is accelerating antimicrobial resistance,” the company said. “It is well accepted that curtailing antibiotic use in people and animals slows the threat of antimicrobial resistance and helps preserve the life-saving effectiveness of current and future drugs.”
FoodID can verify seven drug families and 95% of the most common antibiotics and other adulterants administered in feed and water consumed by livestock. FoodID also claims that its testing system works in real-time at processing line speed.
Niman launched the venture with Dan Denney, a microbiologist and immunologist, and Kevin Lo who is the chief executive officer. Lo came to the project after working in executive roles for Facebook and Google.
“People deserve to know what’s in their food, and they’ve come to expect transparency from the products they buy and the companies they support,” Lo said. “Until now, testing technologies have been unable to work at the speed and scale of the modern livestock system.”
Board members for FoodID include Walter Robb, former co-CEO of Whole Foods, and Chuck Templeton, founder and former CEO of OpenTable and managing director of S2G Ventures. Investors include S2G Ventures and OCA Ventures.