I had a great encounter with the North Carolina Food Safety and Defense Task Force in Raleigh today. They are an eclectic group of people who work to monitor the food supply chain and try to spot threats to human health from what is in the food we eat. They come from government, private companies, universities, and other interested groups. The wide range of people involved mirror the number of links in the food chain operating globally every day. With 12,000 mile food supply lines, there are myriad opportunities for food to pick up contaminants or other agents that can make us sick.
The group was gracious in allowing me to brief them on our project. I mentioned that our system is now live and has started looking at emergency medical services data with our analytics. They peppered me with questions about security of the data feeds, how we combine different types of data, who we serve with our information, how we are funded, do we plan on another business model, etc. They were a very receptive audience both during and after the meeting. As I headed back to my office, I even got a call from a state agency who had heard about our project from the meeting and wanted to talk about participating in our project. Such encounters are an emotional boost since these skilled professionals see the value we bring in biosurveillance.