Food traceability is a growing concern for both businesses and consumers who want to know exactly where their food is coming from, but the path of the global food supply is a winding one and the increasing complexity of the world's food system can make it difficult to trace products back to their source.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says the U.S. food supply is among the safest in the world but there are still about 48 million cases of foodborne illness each year according to government estimates. The FDA says the illnesses result in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.

Behind the scenes, the Global Food Traceability Center, based in Washington, officially launched in July by the Institute of Food Technologists, is working to establish itself as a clearinghouse for efforts to protect and improve the global food supply.

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