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Coquitlam company aims to track mask production from start to finish

Last Updated Mar 25, 2021 at 4:19 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)
Summary

Coquitlam company says it will be able to provide full transparency to those who use its products

Customers will be able to track the production of their masks through a QR code

COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – What started off as a way to track the process of food-making and distribution has turned into a way to let people know how their masks were made.

Inno Lifecare, which is a division of Inno Foods and based in Coquitlam, has been given the go-ahead by Health Canada to create N95 surgical masks, and will be using blockchain technology in the manufacturing.

CEO and founder of Inno Life Care, Jae Park, says this means the company will be able to provide full transparency to those who use the products.

“We have a world-class food traceability platform that we developed in-house. We’ve modified it and applied it to PPE so that every ingredient coming in can be tracked, and then during production, we can make lot codes. When we send it out, it can also be traced,” he tells NEWS 1130.

Customers will be able to track it through a QR code. All someone would have to do is open up their cell phone camera and scan the code to get a link to find the information.

“We’ve also included lab tests of all our materials and final testing attached to the actual lot code, so that the end user can scan that. It gives the end customer — whether you’re a teacher, a front-line worker, an office worker, a doctor — a lot of information at your fingertips,” he said.

Park says the discovery has been incredibly important to him, having lost some family members to the virus.

“I lost both … my grandfathers during COVID. I just buried my last living grandfather yesterday,” he explained.

He also says it’s been hard on the hundreds of people who work for his company.

“We employ 500 people here in Coquitlam, and during the shutdown starting last March, our sales were about one quarter for four months. We’re down 60, 70 per cent. During that time, when you’re trying to trying to run a food manufacturing plant and you don’t have the proper tools like masks and gloves, it was very, very frustrating. So, I decided to create our own mask machines that make our own masks, so that we can do our own manufacturing. Since we had the production knowledge and operational knowledge, we just applied that to PPEs,” Park said.

Last Friday, Health Canada issued a warning about fake N95 respirators after stopping 330,000 3M-branded ones from Canadian distributors, and 365,000 at the border.

3M says it is working with Health Canada to stop the masks from getting into the market.

For his part, Park says Inno Lifecare is getting ready to send 2.5 million masks to local facilities and companies in B.C.