Can blockchain provide a safer, more transparent supply chain?

Leaders from the food and beverage industry will come together in New Food’s two-day event next year to discuss how we, as an industry, can improve the integrity of our systems. Experts will debate a range of key topics; among the skilled speakers is Julie Pierce of the FSA, who will be speaking about the organisations’ blockchain pilots and the benefits this technology can offer to the sector.

Blockchain

Food Integrity 2020 will see leaders from the food and beverage sector coming together to debate the challenges facing the industry and share their lessons and solutions. Here, Bethan Grylls, New Food’s Editor, takes a moment to look at how this technology has been used so far, and speak to Julie Pierce, Director of Openness, Data & Digital; and Wales at the FSA, who will be discussing at the event, among other matters, how technology can help create a safer, more transparent global supply chain.

What is ‘blockchain’?

One in 10 people across the world fall ill after eating contaminated food every year, and 420,000 of them die.1 Some experts argue that blockchain has the potential to improve the integrity of the global supply chain, reducing the number of food fraud incidents and increasing safety for all.

blockchain

“A blockchain is a distributed database that collates records and puts them in one block – similar to putting records on a paper,” Pierce told New Food. “Each block is then ‘chained’ to the next block with an encrypted signature. The process allows the blockchains to be used like a ledger so they can be shared and checked by anyone with the appropriate permission to do so.

“Using blockchain in the food chain has the potential to improve traceability of the supply chain, enabling users to view the relevant data digitally, remove duplication in reporting and paperwork, and use smart contracts to ensure the process is automated where feasible. And then, all of this drives speed of moving data through the system, so recalls could be managed in…

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