Perspective: Blockchain Useful in the Food Supply Chain

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For carriers and shippers that specialize in food delivery, a lack of visibility and traceability can be dangerous. If there is a risk of foodborne illnesses with a particular shipment that is not being carefully tracked, the potential scope could be uncertain for some time — especially if health officials are unable to issue a recall due to an inability to track where the potential outbreak originated.

Food safety is especially top-of-mind in the United States, as families around the country prepare sit down soon and enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. Companies want to make sure that the turkey, cranberries, mashed potatoes and other delicacies their customers purchase are safe.

The level of risk and uncertainty that comes with food safety issues illustrates why the global food supply chain needs better methods for preventing contamination. Businesses need to improve transparency and real-time visibility — the ability to track shipment data in real time from origin through the final destination.

John Monarch, CEO of ShipChain


Blockchain technology is capable of providing this kind of end-to-end transparency about where food originated and traveled, which can help reduce the risk of foodborne illness and the cost of produce contamination. In a non-blockchain environment, it can take weeks or longer to pinpoint the exact farm or processing plant responsible for contamination, and people can fall ill in that time.

Blockchain makes the storage and access of verified data possible by logging that data in an immutable ledger. Participants are connected on the blockchain, and each of them maintains a complete copy of the ledger, which updates with new transactions as they occur. This decentralized data storage validates the data against other nodes. Nodes are machines used by the participants. Since it relies on accurate data during entry, fleets and shippers should use automated data collection and logging…

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