Tyson Ventures has already made splashes buying stakes in alternative protein companies. Now, the venture capital arm of giant Tyson Foods Inc. is betting the meat industry will beef up its food-safety platforms.
The unit is investing in Clear Labs Inc., a food safety testing company that uses a robotic platform to detect pathogens like salmonella. The technology shortens turnaround times of current methods to 24 hours from three-to-five days. It’s Tyson’s first investment in the food-safety space, and likely not the last, said Reese Schroeder, managing director at Tyson Ventures.
Companies like Tyson use microbiology labs to test large volumes of raw-meat samples and other foods from processing plants along with equipment to ensure nothing contains food-upoisoning culprits like E. coli before entering commerce.
“If all goes as planned, this will be in lab settings and help us do that better, faster and more accurately,” Schroeder said. “We worked closely with our microbiology lab in evaluating companies, and this was a good first choice for a first investment in food safety.”
Tyson Ventures is looking to make investments in areas including innovative protein products, disruptive delivery channels, emerging brands and categories, and operations enhancements including food safety and sustainability, Schroeder said.
The venture capital fund made headlines as one of the first meat companies to invest in alternative proteins. It has stakes in plant-based burger firm Beyond Meat, and cultured meat companies Memphis Meats and Future Meat Technologies.
The terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed.