Blockchain technology is getting applied to a variety of industries, and food supply is no exception. The blockchain can solve problems like food safety, traceability, and contamination.
In this article, we’ll look at how blockchain could change the food industry for the better.
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Blockchain already has a feather on its cap to transform the crypto industry and helped many to buy cryptocurrency with ease. Can it change the food industry too?
The Food Supply Chain Problem
In 2018, over 110 million people in the U.S. were sickened by foodborne illnesses, according to data from CDC (Center for Disease Control).
Many people can safely eat foods that get contaminated by pathogens like salmonella, E-coli or listeria bacteria. Others are not so lucky, especially those who get immunocompromised or very young children (under 6 months old).
These two groups may suffer lasting health effects or even die if they ingest contaminated food products. These can include eggs or peanut butter that contain harmful microbes like salmonella bacteria which can survive boiling temperatures (or pasteurization).
What Is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a distributed database and communication network. This means that it does not get stored in one location but across all participants of the network.
What does this mean for product manufacturers? It means that blockchain technology gets used in tracking products from farm to fork. Providing full transparency and traceability along the way. Something that will allow manufacturers to keep tabs on their supply chain.
Can Blockchain Change the Industry?
Blockchain can get used to improve food safety, transparency, and traceability. The technology is already getting used to reduce food waste and even to combat issues of animal cruelty.
Food safety is paramount in our modern world, especially when it comes to something we consume every day.
Blockchain technology could help reduce the number of people who get sick from contaminated products. By providing full transparency into the production process and allowing consumers access to detailed information about their food’s origin.
Blockchain has the potential to make everyone safer by encouraging increased accountability throughout each step of production and distribution. Blockchain offers a way for companies that produce food products and their customers to maintain trust in those products.
It happens by creating authentic experiences around the provenance (the history) of those goods through peer-to-peer networks. That is easily accessible through smartphones or computers with internet connections at any time, regardless of location.
Thus, greatly reducing opportunities for fraudsters looking for ways around costly traceability systems. Such as RFID chips embedded inside cans or bottles containing valuable liquids like beer.
These are just two examples among many others where blockchain could come into play. They all involve items whose value increases exponentially once they get opened/tampered with so consumers need assurances there’s no chance someone else drank them first.
How Can This Help in Transportation?
Even if you’re not a health inspector, you may have heard of the food safety mantra. Keep it cold and keep it clean.
In the transportation industry, this means that temperature monitoring is incredibly important. The ability to track your food’s location is also essential for making sure it gets to its destination safely and on time.
But what about other factors? Can blockchain help with these as well? The current state of global food systems leaves plenty of room for improvement in terms of transparency and efficiency, and blockchain could do just that.
Imagine being able to track every step along your product’s journey:
- Farm to table
- Field conditions to harvesting methods
- Packaging materials used
- It reaches its final destination on store shelves or restaurant menus
All while knowing exactly when these steps took place (and how many times) along the way. This enables greater accountability within any given supply chain. Everyone involved would know exactly who was responsible for their part in producing safe products at all times.
It’s good news, especially considering how much damage even trace amounts of contaminated foods can cause people when consumed over long periods (think outbreaks like E-coli).
How Does a Food Supply Chain Work?
The food supply chain is a complex network of suppliers, distributors, and retailers. Each company along this chain plays a role in ensuring that your favorite snack food makes it onto the shelf at your local grocery store.
It’s a great system that has helped create an abundant and affordable supply of food for over 100 years. However, it also means we have lots of opportunities for error along the way.
In this section, I’ll explain how our current method works before diving into what blockchain can do to improve it:
First, come farmers who grow crops like wheat or corn (or other foods). They sell these crops to large companies called “processors” who turn them into products like flour or cooking oil.
These processors sell their products to wholesalers. They then repackage them into smaller quantities and deliver them to stores. Consumers can purchase them directly from stores themselves. Or it can happen indirectly through others who serve as middlemen between producers/processors/wholesalers on one side and individual consumers on another side.
How Does Blockchain Solve Existing Problems?
Blockchain is a decentralized, public ledger of all transactions that have ever gotten executed. It’s an open record that anyone can read or add to but, no one can tamper with.
This makes it ideal for tracking food from farm to table. Food safety managers can use blockchain technology to track contamination, defects, or problems back to their source.
They can also use it to improve food safety by pinpointing sources of contamination and reducing risk factors at every step along the way. From farm equipment maintenance records being posted on a blockchain network and shared within seconds across multiple companies involved in food production (like seed suppliers).
With the ability to track food from source to shelf, blockchain could help the industry keep tabs on safety violations and identify fraud.
The technology can also enable companies to better track how their products are moving through their supply chain, reducing waste along the way.
Blockchain already has a feather on its cap to transform the crypto industry and has helped many buy BNB to access cryptocurrency easily. Can it change the food industry too?
Farmers using Blockchain technology can verify if they were paid fairly for their goods. Thus, eliminating disputes due to distributors’ overpayment amounts. And ensuring higher farm income overall while driving down costs for consumers.