The global food safety organizations have long struggled to keep track of food supply chains across the world, but the sheer scope of the task was overwhelming even for the combined global effort. Today, it seems that this job got just the right technology to match its magnitude. The World Wildlife Fund announced earlier this week that it would be utilizing the blockchain technology to finally start tracking food supplies in a coordinated and effective manner. The ambitious project will be based on OpenSC, a blockchain platform that can track the route of various food, for example fish caught in Norwegian waters and delivered to your table.
OpenSC implements QR codes to provide shoppers with complete information about food supplies they are about to buy. Its team hopes that such an approach will raise awareness about food production practices across the world – most importantly, in those regions that are notorious for their negative environmental impact and slavery. Companies that will join the project will be using radio-frequency identification (RFID) tagging for their food supplies (for example fish) as well as GPS location of the crop or catch. This information will then be fed to the QR code, which customers or restaurants can scan to get a full breakdown of food supply chains.
This is not the first time the idea to use blockchain in the food industry floats around. A few years ago, Walmart partnered up with IBM to track how pork is produced in China. Last year, it extended the deal to incorporate lettuce and spinach.
OpenSC project has already secured the support of several companies from various segments, including a fishing company and Woolworths retailer network in Australia as well as Singapore Airlines. These companies committed to installing the required software to start tracking food supplies. OpenSC has received funding from the Boston Consulting Group and is envisioned as a long-term initiative, designed to deliver transparency to customers.
The joint effort by OpenSC and the WWF will hopefully help to eliminate uncertainty about food sources and fight climate change, both teams say. According to the WWF, it is the everyday products we consume, such as sugar, cocoa, seafood, cotton or beef, that are contributing the most to global pollution. The blockchain-based program is expected to help tackle food waste, over-extraction and violations of labor legislation.
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