The food industry has frequently been shaken by scandals throughout its history. From poor working environments of staff to horrific conditions of animals, the food industry has struggled to maintain a reliable reputation, made all the more difficult with Netflix’s larger selection of food documentaries opening up all corners of this essential industry. However, thanks to blockchain’s immutable security and trust, the processes of the food industry might soon experience an upgrade, restoring our faith in the industry once again.
Walmart Inc. has recently announced that it will be getting suppliers to put food on the blockchain to help reduce waste, better manage contamination cases and improve transparency. The retail giant began running tests with International Business Machines Corp.’s blockchain platform in 2016 and is ready to use the technology on its live food business according to Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety and health, reports Bloomberg. What’s more, the new blockchain technology was able to reduce the time taken to track produce from six days to two seconds, states Yiannas.
This is not the first case of blockchain entering the food industry. In China, insurance tech company ZhongAn Online previously announced the use of blockchain technology that will enable customers to use facial-recognition technology to track organically farmed chickens they’ve pre-purchased. They will also be able to monitor their birds’ movements in real-time using GPS tracking bracelets attached to birds’ legs.
We spoke with Matej Michalko, founder, CEO and President of DECENT, a Blockchain Content Distribution Platform that is Open-Source and utilizes Blockchain to ensure trust and security, who said “Every transaction in blockchain is written in a block and cannot be changed or edited. This block data is available for audit and tracking purposes as the entire blockchain is designed to be transparent. These features bring huge value to the food industry because businesses and customers can track, in real-time, the entire lifecycle of any food product.”
“From growth and production of the product to delivery and storage, every step can be identified and traced in the blockchain. This technology would be extremely useful in the event of a recall because one would easily be able to track the exact origin of the product, all the steps leading to when it was discovered to be compromised, and pinpoint all affected products, saving time and cutting costs exponentially,” adds Michalko.
In addition to this, we spoke with Jaroslav Kacina, the CEO of SophiaTX, a blockchain platform and marketplace currently on a mission to drive blockchain adoption in businesses of all sizes, who stated “Blockchain, as a modern technology, can help us track food all the way from farm to the table, providing us with transparency of origin, ingredients, fertilizers used, and conditions maintained during production and delivery.”
He adds “What makes blockchain so powerful and suitable for such a use, its immutable and decentralised character of data and capability to record information from many sources including sensors in the farm, transport, and warehousing. Transparency is achieved by all having access to same information which cannot be modified and thus tampered with.”
Evidently, blockchain might be able to provide an extra level of confidence in this industry which desperately needs a higher level of transparency. And if that doesn’t work, perhaps we’ll just have to start growing all our own food.