Food Traceability & Safety Scientist | Institute of Food Technologists
Thomas Burke is the Food Traceability and Safety Scientist at IFT’s Global Food Traceability Center (GFTC). Currently, he is the technical lead for interoperability piloting, implementation guidance, and beta testing for the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability, an initiative funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The Global Dialogue is a business-to-business framework facilitating the creation of data and IT architecture standards addressing traceability use cases in the seafood sector, such as catch legality, food safety, and labor accountability. Burke also researches emerging technologies, protocols, and related processes pertaining to food traceability systems, namely blockchain, data capture integration, open source interoperability tools, and artificial intelligence. At GFTC, he has led the creation of the food traceability course entitled “Demystifying Traceability” as well as developing and conducting interactive, standards-based traceability workshops for the food industry community. He previously worked as a Food Safety Analyst at the Georgia Department of Agriculture, working on food outbreak investigations, emergency response, regulatory policy, and informatics. He has a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from Kansas State University, studied epidemiology at Emory University, and is currently an MS/PhD student of food science at Illinois Institute of Technology.
The Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability is a business-to-business pre-competitive process to advance a unified framework to traceability addressing IUU fishing, among other use cases. By building an industry-driven process to determine Key Data Elements, coupled with an interoperable approach to data conveyance, the GDST is releasing a technology-agnostic suite of tools to implement traceability sensitive to the business realities of each supply chain node, from producers to retailers, which leverage and expand upon global standards such as GS1’s Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS). The talk will show the methodology towards driving consensus among seafood supply chain stakeholders, the GDST approach to facilitating interoperability, and the technological realities of implementing traceability. We will also share lessons learned in pilot activities particularly pertinent to tuna supply chains including transshipment, comingling, and transformation/processing.