The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has kicked off the third phase of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Imported Seafood Pilot program, which uses AI and machine learning (ML) to strengthen import screening and to ensure that foods entering the U.S are safe. The pilot focuses on imported seafood because more than 90 percent of the U.S. seafood supply comes from other countries, and in the past, FDA has seen food safety concerns for various imported seafood products along different points in the supply chain. This pilot builds upon the two previous phases of the pilot under the New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint, a program that seeks to reduce the number of foodborne illnesses by leveraging technology to create a safer, more digital, traceable food system.
ML is a type of AI that can help identify connections and patterns that people, or the FDA’s screening system, cannot see. These patterns are applied to incoming supply chains to help predict the likelihood that an import shipment is potentially harmful and not compliant with FDA regulations. The ability of ML to analyze data, already generated and used by the agency, makes it well suited for addressing complex public health challenges and helping the agency to ensure the safety of imported foods.
The third phase is designed to improve the agency’s ability to quickly identify imported seafood products that may be contaminated by illness-causing pathogens, decomposition, the presence of unapproved antibiotic residues, or other hazards.