How new technologies such as the blockchain could have prevented the fake honey scandal

Experts of technologists and food frauds claim that blockchain, combined with new tracking technologies, could have prevented the false honey scandal that swallowed the local market.

The local honey-producing companies, Capilano, have been accused of selling "adulterated" honey under its mixed flower of the Allowrie brand, according to the tests of a German laboratory.

The revelations of Fairfax Media last week, which Capilano strongly denied, prompted the government to ask the Australian Competition Commission and consumers to investigate whether buyers were deceived.

Andrew Lowe, Director of Food Innovation at the University of Adelaide, said it was known that there was a problem with the adulteration of honey in the "yonks" sector, particularly outside of China, but that scammers had evolved their methods to circumvent regular industry tests.

  Some of the batches of Allowrie's Honey Blossom Honey were allegedly adulterated.
Some of the batches of Honey's Honey Blossom Honey from Allowrie would have been adulterated.

Woolworths website

"The interesting thing about the current case is that there was a test underway to check if honey was adulterated with sugar syrup from corn or sugar cane crops called C4 test for at least a decade … but they have become more sophisticated and they have realized that corn and brown sugar can be detected, so they now mix with the syrup of other plants like rice, wheat and beets that can not be detected "he said. [19659002] Advertisement

"This German company has developed the NMR test, which is said to distinguish sugars from these other plants … it is a technology-based answer to the problem of increasing adulteration in honey, but other anti-fraud the technologies could be used. "

The global cost of food fraud has been estimated at over $ 50 billion a year, according to PwC.

Use case Blockchain

Addressing supply chain problems is one of the most commonly cited advantages of blockchain technology, and Professor Lowe said it could have a significant impact on the cost of food fraud.

He said companies should invest in anti-fraud technologies, such as blockchain, tracers, biomarkers and packaging sensors.

"Blockchain is fine to show an uninterrupted chain of custody for a product along a supply chain, revealing where something was … but you want to use it with a tracer, which is something introduced as a protein that can be detected at low concentrations, or a biomarker of the product itself, "he said.

"In honey, the pollen is present in the plant and then it is possible to analyze it and see if it comes from Australia or from Southeast Asia." [19659011] ASX Technology Provider

Security Quest of Israeli startup , which is listed on ASX, is developing this type of technology, creating hidden barcodes based on chemicals that permanently mark any object in solid, liquid or gaseous form.

Security Administrator Issue Haggai Alon said this would reveal if honey had been adulterated.

"Every part of the product in the chain will be marked and verified from the moment it reaches the end customer, which creates full responsibility for each of the individual players," he said.

Other organizations developing supply chain blockchain solutions include Everledger and at the start of this year the World Wildlife Fund in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji has worked with the US company ConsenSys and TraSeable to use blockchain to eliminate illegal fishing and slave labor in the tuna fisheries sector.

Professor Lowe said that there was an increasing demand from consumers for brands to be transparent.

"They are paying for a product and that's what they want, and there are problems with sustainable sourcing, as long as [the products] has the same price, it will drive change," he said.

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