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Blockchain To Bring ‘Food Traceability Into A New Era’

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With consumers increasingly expecting greater transparency from food manufacturers and suppliers, Bureau Veritas has revealed that blockchain technology is set to revolutionise the industry by making complete food traceability possible for the first time ever, reported KamCity.

According to latest figures, in 2016/17 the UK Food Standards Agency investigated 2,265 food contamination incidents – up 30% on the previous year. Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that almost 1 in 10 people become ill every year from eating contaminated food, with 420,000 dying as a result.

To provide greater clarity to the issue, certification provider, Bureau Veritas has launched a new white paper ‘Food traceability: The blockchain revolution’, detailing the current obstacles in food traceability with recommendations on how to overcome these by utilising the latest advances in disruptive technology.

Joy Franks, UK certification Managing Director at Bureau Veritas, commented: “Although consumers are increasingly demanding greater food transparency at the swipe of a finger, extensive costs and logistical issues have meant that for food manufacturers and suppliers’ complete traceability has remained an elusive goal – until now.

“Inherently, the issue is complexity. A single product may go through six to eight stages of a supply chain before it ends up on shelves, making end-to-end traceability using current methods such as sampling nigh on impossible to achieve.”

“As such, we need only look at the rising number of food safety breaches, which can often result in irreversible reputational damage to understand how blockchain technology can revolutionise the industry by increasing the reliability of information.”

As detailed in the white paper, blockchain is a ledger where transactions are recorded and confirmed, acting as a record of events that is shared between many parties. In a food supply chain, for example, a failed test and inspection on a product at any stage of the supply chain will be automatically traced to the origin of the failure.

According to Bureau Veritas, adopting blockchain technology could transform how organisations manage food traceability by improving efficiency, eliminating duplication of reconciliation efforts and reducing the need for intermediaries.

What’s more, a whole host of other features are said to make blockchain technology highly suited to monitoring food supply chains, including the fact that it is open to any participant and any type of information can be entered. It also uses cryptography to protect commercially sensitive information as well as being able to use smart contracts – a set of automated rules governing a transaction – to provide extra security.

Franks added: “It is easy to see why blockchain is such an exciting development for the industry. Blockchain’s very advantages – the need for consensus, the immutability of data, the ability to use smart contracts and permissions – raise the stakes on getting the system right at the outset.

Read more at kamcity.com

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