Crowdsourcing and Food Safety



Crowdsourcing is defined as taking a job that is traditionally performed in an organization by employees and outsourcing it to a crowd of undefined network of people (non-employees) in the form of an open call. The crowdsourcing participants can be from anywhere, with all backgrounds, as long as they have Internet connection. The use of crowdsourcing is increasing rapidly and had been used in idea generation, wikies, open source software citizen reporters or journalism, citizen science, disaster management.
Crowdsourcing utilization in food projects has increased rapidly where companies have for example encouraged consumers to vote for new flavors, colors, names, better design, etc. More recently crowdsourcing was extended to crowdfunding and numerous startups were able to raise sufficient funds to jumpstart their operations. However, the utilization of crowdsourcing in food quality and safety is missing. (Definition supplied by Prof. (Emer.) Sam Saguy (
Crowd sourcing can also be defined as “obtain information or input into a particular task or project by enlisting the services of a number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet.”  The use of crowdsourcing is increasing rapidly are you using it?
crowrdsourcing-f1The BioExpert site is an example of crowdsourcing in the food safety arena. The participant (crowd) is selected from food safety professionals.
I received the following request from Dr. Jan Mei Soon – and Prof. (Emer.) Sam Saguy –
Re: Crowdsourcing Questionnaire Food Quality and Safety
Dear Colleague,
We (Jan Mei Soon – and Sam Saguy – preparing a paper on the possible utilization of Crowdsourcing* (see below) focusing on specific possible applications of this unique recent evolving approach for food quality and safety. We hereby would welcome and be most appreciating if you could share with us from your own experience and knowledge how this fascinating emerging tool is or will be used and kindly fulfil the questionnaire below. Also ideas are also most welcome. Even if you are not using this technology to day, it would be most helpful if you can share with us your vision on how and/or where it could be applied. If you would like to share with us your name and e-mail we would most definitely communicate with you to express our appreciation and also to elaborate on some of the points you furnished. Thanking you in advance Dr. Jan Mei Soon and Prof. (Emer.) Sam Saguy
The questionnaire below is very simple; please take a minute to reply, and send the answers directly to Dr. Jan Mei Soon – and Prof. (Emer.) Sam Saguy –

Crowdsourcing Questionnaire Food Quality and Safety


  1. Do you crowdsource (see definition above) for food safety or quality ideas and solutions?

If not:

  • Can you briefly explain why not?
  • Can you envision where and how it could be applied for food quality and/or safety
  • Do you have estimation on the time and/or tools required for implementation?

If yes:

  • What type of crowdsourcing practices do you use?
  • Why do you use crowdsourcing?
  • Are there any specific benefits?
  • Are there any specific drawbacks?
  • Can you describe specific example (s)?
  • Can you estimate the typical time or the duration?
  1. Any additional points to share?

We would love to get your opinion, comments on this novel concept and its utilization in food safety.

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