Wonder What’s in that Hot Dog? Data Analytics Has Your Answer


Could data analytics make for a safer, more transparent food supply? Maria Fernandez Guajardo, VP of Products at Clear Labs, answered that question with an unequivocal “Yes!” when she presented at the Intel Analytics Summit this summer.

Collaboration Drives Better Data

Clear Labs exists at the intersection of genetic analysis and data science, analyzing food at the molecular level to generate information for the food industry about the authenticity and safety of their ingredients and finished products. In her Analytics Summit talk, Maria demonstrates how the company employs a combination of database and analytics technologies to analyze the food supply, including an unbiased and universal DNA test, machine learning probabilistic species identification, and a proprietary reference database with millions of sequences.

Science aside, Clear Labs is a great example of some groundbreaking trends in data analytics. One of those trends is the push to make the results of data analytics investigations more useful by driving closer collaboration among data scientists, developers, business analysts and marketing people. The goal is to generate information that is meaningful not just to data scientists and analysts, but to the broader public. This is the type of collaboration that gave rise to the Clear Labs “Hot Dog Report,” a study of the U.S. hot dog quality landscape.

For this report, Clear Labs researchers collected genetic and other test data from more than 300 hot dogs and sausages and then analyzed each product for its compliance to the label specifications. Curious about the results? The “Hot Dog Report” found that 14.4 percent of the products were problematic in some way. Problems included the substitution of ingredients that were not listed on the labels, and hygiene issues. To see how all this testing came together, read the full report. Another trend Maria talked about is the important role of visualization in making information come alive to people.

Results of Clear Labs Hot Dog Report

You don’t need a Ph.D. in data science to understand those results. You look at the information and you get it. This is the type of information you get when you break down the silos that have long kept data scientists working in their own self-contained world, far from business and marketing people and the public beyond. The Clear Labs experience shows how a data scientist’s work can live on in any industry. It also shows the power of today’s tools to extend the value of data science. We’re talking about making the work done by data scientists meaningful to the masses.

Data Science for the Masses

The Clear Labs experience is a great example how data analytics is being increasingly democratized to be more available to and consumable by a wider range of people and organizations. Through the availability of open source tools and high performance cloud platforms, people from any sized organization can now gain access to many of the analytics tools used by the world’s largest companies.

Intel’s commitment to the democratization of data analytics is reflected in community building events such as the Intel Analytics summit, expanded meet-ups, and through substantial investments in resources that help companies unlock their data. These resources range from open enterprise-ready software platforms to analytics building blocks, runtime optimizations, tools, frameworks, and use cases. You can find these and other resources on the Intel Developer Zone.

Finding Real Life Value in Data

Let’s close with a few key takeaways. One is that data analytics is moving out of shadows of the lab and into the light of the broader enterprise. Data scientists and business people increasingly work as a team, finding ways to turn raw data into information that is meaningful, useful and easily visualized—so everyone can use it.

Another key takeaway is that the resources for advanced analytics are now available to companies of all sizes, thanks to the contributions of a broad ecosystem. This availability of resources is fueling the democratization of big data and analytics, and is being extended to emerging artificial intelligence (AI) technologies as well. Lots of people can get in the game—and do amazing things with the available tools.

To see what we mean by “amazing things,” treat yourself to a few bites of the Clear Labs “Hot Dog Report.” And then consider this: This kind of work can be done across all industries.


About Clear Labs:

Clear Labs is the world’s first food analytics platform for retailers and manufacturers. We join advanced molecular diagnostics with data science to help leading food companies protect their brands and ensure the highest standards of food quality. Our mission is to drive unprecedented transparency and to mitigate risk through data-driven intelligence. 

Our platform enables our customers to determine the objective quality and safety of their products, assess and reduce risks of contamination and recalls, streamline food safety programs, and eliminate blind spots throughout their supply chains. 

 Clear Labs was founded in 2013 by a group of software engineers, genomic scientists, and food industry experts to secure the world's food supply and set worldwide standards for food integrity.