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Blockchain Food Traceability – An efficient Food Safety Solution

Blockchain
Blockchain

Blockchain is a digital record of transactions which enables digitizing stakeholders database involved in whole supply to ensure transparency, authenticity and traceability.

As per the World Health Organization around 600 million people fall ill due to the consumption of the contaminated food

Moreover, around 420,000 people die every year by consuming contaminated and unhygienic food .

In a World Bank study published in Oct 2018, it was reported that food-borne illnesses cost US$110 billion every year in low and middle-income countries.

The total cost caused by food-borne illnesses ranges from $55B to $95B every year in the U.S. alone.

Another issue Food Fraud cost a loss of around $65 billion a year globally according to agribusiness advisory partner report.

Food safety management systems equipped with efficient traceability and transparency are crucial to mitigate and reduce such losses.

The intent of traceability is to safeguard consumer health by efficiently tracking the potentially unsafe products in the event of any withdrawal and recall event.

Considering global complex food supply chain models the traditional traceability technique “one up, one down” (OUOD) is simply

  • Insufficient
  • Complicated
  • Time delayed.

To overcome such inefficiencies within the food supply chain, modern cutting-edge technologies like

  • QR codes
  • Trace
  • Blockchain

Above all, are used assuring transparency, authenticity and traceability.

Blockchain Traceability and solution

Blockchain Traceability applications drive digital transformations connecting all the stakeholders involved in the food supply chain through permission, permanent and shared record ultimately enabling the organization’s transparency to ensure trust, data provenance and efficiency

These solution provides multiple benefits leading to food safety provenance like

  • Tracing products source of origin)
  • Supply chain leakages/losses
  • Preventing counterfeiting (food frauds)
  • Enabling efficient recalls (reducing delays from days to minutes/seconds)
  • Lowering compliance cost

Now just consider a Blockchain traceability solution for the mango supply chain to trace mango shipped worldwide from Pakistan to enhance public trust in case of any potential recall.

The stakeholders in the supply chain need to have a strong value proposition, level of trust and shared value for implementing Blockchain solution effectively.

Blockchain solution primarily is based on Business-driven and Technology-driven considering

  • Time efficiencies
  • Long term goodwill
  • Cost reduction
  • Customer trust
  • Revenue generation.
Blockchain that predicted mango Process Flow line
Blockchain that predicted mango Process Flow line

The collaboration of all the stakeholders to digitize their existing product control information and food safety processes are crucial to create a single historical record.

Stake holder and information required to digitize are as follow

Farming

  • Application record of Fertilizers & pesticide
  • Soil and irrigation water test reports
  • Fruit product quality information (Surface defects, fruit defects, pest related issues, chilling and heat injury during ripening)
Mango Farming
Mango Farming (Source Pixabay)

Processing & Storage

  • Mango inspection pre and post-processing record to evaluate quality defects and marketability
  • Logistics temperature and humidity records (Warehouse & transportation)
  • Records of potential losses from sap burn, physical damages, bruises
Processing & Storage
Blockchain with mango processing and preservation (Source Pixabay)

Logistics (Shipper, Logistics) & Importer

  • Mango Importer: Inspection records of internal and external mango quality at arrival, temperature measurement, documents and import certificates
  • Shippers & logistics service providers: Bills of landing, cargo provenance and tracking from (temperature, humidity and time)
Logistics
blockchain with Logistics (Source Pixabay)

Retailing

  • Quality inspection records at receiving in supermarkets
  • Documentation and certificates
  • Retail storage and display control records
  • Sales and complaints/ feedback data
Retailing
Retailing (Source Pixabay)

Globally, retailers already initiated this Blockchain technology solution in collaborating with IT/IM service providers (IBM, OPTEL, Oracle) digitizing product and process information such as either electronic product information codes or global specification codes (GS1).

Blockchain solution as name revealed consists of multiple blocks strung together creating a global view of the whole supply chain transparency.

Whereas, users have a shared view of the truth at any point in time as well as ownership and control over their own information.

Blockchain solution with retailers can have access and transparency across the whole supply chain from an individual package sale’s receipts in case any consumer fall ill e.g. grower, processor, logistics etc.

Professional customers (Hotel, restaurant, and cafeteria) can also benefit by digitally tracking the source and distribution of food throughout the global supply chain and have the assurance that their customers are served safe.

From food safety prospect traceability is crucial in preventing and quickly responding in case of any incident arise linked with food-borne illness, contamination, pesticide residue, food fraud or food defence.

In a broader spectrum with Blockchain solution organizations not only have a solution to their technical issues but also to social problems as well.  

Conclusion

Efficient traceability is crucial in preventing and quickly responding in case of any incident arise linked with

  • Food-borne illness
  • Contamination
  • Pesticide residue
  • Food fraud or food defence

With Blockchain traceability tool organizations not only can have a solution to their technical issues like

  • Food safety provenances
  • Supply chain leakages/losses
  • Preventing food frauds
  • Enabling efficient recalls
  • Lowering compliance cost
  • Social problems like trust and goodwill as well.  

Written By  Sagar Mahmood Khan (Head of QA Compliance Center MCC Global Quality Assurance Management, METRO AG, Germany) 

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