The advent of blockchain-based supply chain monitoring for the food sector has just taken a significant step forward, as a UK food safety watchdog has announced the successful trial of such as system.
It was the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) that recently deployed this pilot program in a cattle slaughterhouse. The main goal of the trial was to ensure compliance within the food sector, which has been notoriously hard to enforce with traditional methods.
Moreover, food has historically been hard to accurately track. This has previously led to massive recalls of food following the discovery of, e.g., spoilt meat. Such extensive recalls have typically led to significant food waste, as virtually all the food from a supplier needs to be recalled and destroyed.
However, through utilizing blockchain technology, food can more accurately be tracked from farmers to merchants, providing greater both transparency and control over the supply chain.
Keeping this in mind, it should not come as a surprise that using blockchain technology in order to more accurately track and monitor food supply chains is not a new idea. We at Toshi Times have previously covered the gargantuan effects blockchain technology could have on transportation, logistics, and food supply chain management.
In addition to this, a consortium of food giants including Nestlé, Unilever, Walmart and others have already partnered with IBM in a bid to use blockchain technology in order to improve the traceability of food and specifically food contamination.
Nonetheless, the British pilot program by the FSA is reportedly the first time that blockchain has ”been used as a regulatory tool to ensure compliance in the food sector”. Moreover, both the FSA and the participating slaughterhouse tracked data provided in the trial.
The Head of Information at the FSA, Sian Thomas, was quoted as stating that the Food Standards Agency believes that ”blockchain technology might add real value to a part of the food industry”. This is especially notable seeing as governmental departments have sometimes typically been hesitant to sing the praises of the blockchain.
Furthermore, a slaughterhouse is an especially challenging type of food production facility, as the work conducted there requires a substantial amount of inspection as well as ”collation of results”, according to Thomas.
Following this successful trial, additional programs are now slated for launch in July of this year. These will see farmers given access to data relating to their animals. It would seem as if blockchain technology could potentially become commonplace in the food supply chain faster than most expect.
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