Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman awards VerifEYE inventors
JUNE 28--eMerge Interactive Inc. (Sebastian, FL; www.emergeinteractive.com) announced that the inventors of the patented VerifEYE food-safety technology are being honored with the highest award bestowed by the USDA.
JUNE 28--eMerge Interactive Inc. (Sebastian, FL; www.emergeinteractive.com), a technology company providing food-safety inspection systems and individual-animal tracking and supply-procurement services to the beef-production industry, announced that the inventors of the patented VerifEYE food-safety technology are being honored with the highest award bestowed by the USDA. Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman is presenting the prestigious Secretary's Honor Award to the inventors of the VerifEYE technology, Tom Casey (USDA/ARS), Mark Rasmussen (USDA/ARS), and Jake Petrich (Iowa State University). The ceremony recognizes the inventors under the category of "Enhancing Protection and Safety of the Nation's Agriculture and Food Supply."
VerifEYE is a fluorescence-based imaging technology, used by meat processors in the USA and abroad to detect trace amounts of organic contamination on meat surfaces. The technology is available in a portable hand-held version called the Solo, designed for spot-checking surfaces, as well as in an automated, in-line Carcass Inspection System (CIS), for automated inspection of entire carcasses. In 1999, eMerge Interactive signed an exclusive, worldwide license with the USDA and Iowa State University for the rights to commercialize the technology and has worked closely with the inventors on the continued development of new VerifEYE products and applications.
Realizing the early potential of the technology, Excel Corporation, the nation's second largest meatpacker, collaborated with eMerge Interactive and the technology's inventors during 2002 and 2003 on the commercialization of the CIS and is in the process of adopting the system within each of its North American processing plants. Says Steve Mellinger, vice president of North American Operations for Excel Corporation, "The VerifEYE CIS is a valuable addition to our quality-assurance program by allowing us to look for possible contamination that can't be seen by the naked eye. We have documented product quality improvements in our plant since the installation of the VerifEYE CIS."
The VerifEYE inventors were previously recognized in 2003, when they received the Agriculture Research Service's Technology Transfer Award, and in 2002, when they received the Federal Laboratory Consortium's Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer.