Will Blockchain Technology Ensure Fresh, Safe Produce?

By CIOReview | Thursday, May 2, 2019

The food and beverage industry has lost millions of Dollars in the past year due to suspicions over the quality of produce after the recent outbreak of E. Coli in Romaine lettuce. While consumers are unaware of the FDA-mandated hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) process, food suppliers face newer challenges in proactively identifying or preventing contaminated produce from storming the food supply chain. The inability to avoid bacterial breakouts or isolate affected produce from store shelves have resulted in trust issues across the industry.

The food industry needs a solution to turn up the heat in the identification and isolation of contaminated products. The solution should be able to prevent problems like bacterial outbreak before they occur, curtail the risks associated, and reduce the market impact. The implementation of a system to maintain harvest details is the responsibility of the industry, and these details help retailers to ensure the supply of fresh food across the food supply chain. Blockchain technology is the answer to the woes of food safety and traceability issues that have previously caused havoc and mismanagement across the food supply chain.

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Although blockchain technology can be applied for tracking produce in the food supply chain using various collections of data, trials for addressing both the forward and backward supply chain traceability are encouraged. This hybrid approach requires growers to keep the locations to which their products are shipped in check, as it is critical while engaging in their recall.

The process of recalling contaminated produce will be easier when the producers can identify locations and time period of supply with the application of blockchain technology. The technology presently does not support forward tracing directly but, when augmented, it can maintain food safety data items; quickly communicate about the status at pallet-level.

For the hybrid blockchain technology to flourish, complete digitization of the food supply chain and development of IoT in the field of Food and Beverages is necessary. If this strategy of creating a harmoniously digitized food supply management is successful, a healthy transformation will be carried out in the food scene of generations to come. 

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