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Blockchain to Revolutionise the Food Supply Chain

Bureau Veritas has recently announced that consumers’ expectations of greater transparency from food manufacturers and suppliers will finally be met. Complete food traceability will be possible for the first time ever through blockchain technology, which will revolutionise the industry.

The UK Food Standards Agency investigated in 2016/17 2,265 cases of food contamination, up 30% than the previous year. Furthermore, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that approximately 1 in 10 people become ill every year because of contaminated food, which results in 420,000 deaths.

Bureau Veritas, the leading certification provider, is offering greater clarity to the issue with the launch of ‘Food traceability: The blockchain revolution’, which provides details about the current obstacles in food traceability, together with recommendations on how to overcome them by using disruptive technology.

Joy Franks, UK certification managing director at Bureau Veritas, said that “the issue is complexity”. “A single product may go through six to eight stages of a supply chain before it ends up on shelves, making end-to- end traceability using current methods such as sampling nigh on impossible to achieve.”

The paper explains that blockchain is a ledger where transactions are recorded and confirmed, acting as a record of events that is shared between many parties. For example, in a food supply chain if a product fails a test and an inspection the information will be automatically traced to the origin of the failure. This way, blockchain technology will be improving efficiency, eliminating duplication of reconciliation efforts and reducing the need for intermediaries.

“As a result, it can increase the reliability of information, making complete traceability possible without any single all-powerful actor, or the presence of an independent third party at every transaction – making it a quicker, cheaper and more efficient process,” said Joy.

She concludes by saying that in the future, blockchain will become an integral part of the food supply chain mix and it will “bring food traceability into a new era”.

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