Frank Yiannas, Former Food & Drug Administration Deputy Commissioner of Food Policy & Response, Joins Wiliot as a Strategic Advisor

Wiliot, the Internet of Things pioneer whose visibility platform is enabling trillions of “things” to gain intelligence, today announced that Frank Yiannas, the former Deputy Commissioner of Food Policy & Response of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), has joined the company as a Strategic Advisor.

With his appointment, Yiannas will help advise the food and retail markets on the ways in which the ambient IoT, and the real-time, item-level visibility it delivers, can help meet the FSMA Rule 204 obligation that requires the safe tracking of food products and the sharing of traceability data with the FDA and consumers.

“The FDA’s New Food Traceability Rule has become a catalyst for retailers to modernize their supply chains,” said Wiliot CEO Tal Tamir. “Frank’s leadership in food safety and response will be pivotal in helping us educate the market on how this moment and the adoption of ambient IoT by some of the world’s largest retailers can enable the food business to meet their societal and regulatory traceability requirements.”

Continued Tamir, “The Wiliot Visibility Platform provides food retailers with a real-time view into each product throughout its journey from farm-to-store. Frank has a unique understanding of how that will transform the food industry – reducing waste, extending shelf life, improving quality, and optimizing labor – while helping retailers maintain FSMA 204 compliance and its mandate for accuracy.”

Ambient IoT is a battery-free wireless technology that is being incorporated in multiple wireless standards, such as Bluetooth, 5G Advanced, 6G, and Wi-Fi – allowing food, medicine, and clothing to be connected to the internet and the power of AI at a fraction of the cost of legacy technologies.

The ambient IoT enables a new real-time inventory paradigm that not only benefits compliance and safety, but is the key to more efficient store operations, surviving and thriving in the face of omni-channel competition, and competing on quality as well as value. 

Until now barcode techniques suffered from higher labor costs and low accuracy/compliance. Legacy RFID tags have been an option for decades, but the high infrastructure/reader costs have required handheld scanning with limited visibility and accuracy. The ambient IoT is an evolution of this technology using commodity Bluetooth radios instead, leveraging the latest security and sensing, and the ability to interact with the smartphones that are already pervasive in stores.

In addition to Yiannas’ ambient IoT industry thought leadership, he will also advise Wiliot on how to best leverage its platform within the food safety ecosystem to achieve enhanced food safety and traceability. He will collaborate with executives, solutions development leaders, and sales and marketing teams on the appropriate approach for retailers to achieve FSMA Rule 204 compliance using its Visibility Platform – while advising on key partnerships with consultants, systems integrators, and applications software vendors to bolster the platform to enable food companies and their software application partners to deliver a comprehensive FSMA Rule 204 solution.

“Modernizing food safety is critical to the health and wellbeing of people everywhere,” Yiannas said today. “This goal cannot be achieved without creating greater transparency and traceability throughout the entire food continuum – across farms, food processing and distribution centers, and retail stores. Wiliot, through its pioneering use of ambient IoT, is in a unique position to enable this transparency to become a reality faster and more efficiently than others. They have demonstrated that their Visibility Platform – using battery-free postage stamp-sized IoT Pixels – is a game-changer that can significantly help the entire food industry create safer, more traceable supply chains.”

Finalized in November 2022, the FDA’s FSMA Rule 204 rule establishes a foundation for end-to-end food traceability by focusing on tracking food at each step across the supply chain and expands beyond ‘one-up, one-back’ traceability. The goal of Rule 204 is to create visibility within the supply chain to enable a better response to foodborne illnesses, contamination, and other public health and safety issues. The rule, which has now been finalized, has a January 2026 compliance deadline.

Frank Yiannas is a renowned food safety leader and executive, food system futurist, author, professor, and past president of the International Association of Food Protection. In addition to serving under two different administrations as the Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a position he held from 2018 to 2023, he previously spent 30 years in leadership roles with two industry giants: Walmart and the Walt Disney Company.

Wiliot’s battery-free IoT Pixels can attach to any food product or packaging to connect it to the internet and embed it with intelligence. Once attached, products push out item or case-level information about their location, temperature, carbon footprint, and more – equipping food retailers and companies with the high-definition real-time data that is now required as part of FSMA Rule 204.

”Frank tends not to focus on vendor solutions, so his appointment is a testament to the merits of this new wave of ambient IoT tools,” concluded Tamir. “It represents the latest evolution of RFID technology and builds upon its successes in ways that helps retailers to reduce labor costs, increase efficiencies, manage their carbon footprint – all while also achieving FSMA Rule 204 compliance.”

Wiliot is already working with some of the world’s largest food retailers and companies on ambient IoT projects that ensure FSMA Rule 204 compliance, an initiative that will now be accelerated by Yiannas’ appointment.

To hear Frank Yiannas talk with podcaster Steve Statler about the connection between FSMA 204 and ambient IoT, check out