Clear Labs Aims to Clear Up Food Transparency

The Lempert Report
October 08, 2015

An innovative company is working to index all the packaged foods so that consumers know exactly what they're eating.

Do you know how many genetically modified organisms were in your cereal this morning? Or how much gluten was in your pasta last night? Probably not, but an innovative company hopes to change all that. Clear Labs, a California based start-up is working to index all the packaged foods so that consumers know exactly what they're eating.

Clear Labs recently raised $6.5 million in Series A funding which they will use to create a molecular data index, including allergen and contamination data.

Mahni Ghorashi, the Chief Marketing Officer and cofounder of Clear Labs said in a recent interview with Popular Science, “The idea was to bring a new kind of transparency to the food industry.” A popular idea and one that many consumers are interested in. So how exactly will they do that?  The company uses technology related to sequencing human genomes in clinical trials but applies it to food products. They are working on products from some of the world’s largest food brands to test for ingredient accuracy, origin, GMOs, bacterial contamination and allergens – as well as nutritional data. 

And it's not just for consumers. If retailers or manufacturers wants to know more about a particular food, they can ship a sample to Clear Labs where researchers will then examine all the DNA found in the sample and compare them to what's in the database, which contains information from the company's previous tests. This can potentially help companies identify, for example, gluten in foods that are labeled gluten-free, or even disease-causing bacteria before the product even reaches a customer.

Mahni Ghorashi told TechCrunch, “Our aim is really to build this comprehensive database upon which we can make food indexable, searchable and with all the types of genetic analytics you can run on top of that. ” 

But the big question is… when will consumers be able to use this database? The co-founders estimate that a consumer application will be ready in about five to 7 years. So… we have a little time to wait but with food transparency and labeling being so important to consumers right now, it will be a welcome application!