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How the tracking blockchain technology could revolutionize the Australian food industry


January 18, 2019 05:40:14

The global race is about to find the best way to track where our food comes from while consumers become more aware of what they are eating and technology makes it easier to follow supply chains.

Key points:

  • Blockchain technology makes information on food supply chains publicly available
  • It also informs customers of product sustainability
  • The technology is currently used to ensure that Australian meat sold in China matches the label

Australia is in the front row, with two locally developed blockchain projects launched this week.

The chef Matt Moran is enthusiastic about the new technology, which serves for the first time the perch of Patagonian Patagonian in his Sydney Aria restaurant.

He said that knowing exactly where his product comes from is essential.

"With this, traceability is 100%", he explained.

"It's starting with the Glacier snaking 51, but I'd like to see it with everything, the Blackmore wagyu or the lamb of Moran, something like that, I think it's really important and it's a big step forward."

The fish was captured in the sub-Antarctic waters near Heard Island, more than 4,000 kilometers southwest of Perth, where it was labeled with a single radio frequency ID.

WWF environmental group and technology investment partner BCG Digital Ventures has developed the data labeling system.

The CEO of WWF Australia, Dermot O & Gorman, said that consumers attribute an ever-increasing importance to the origin of food products.

"What we need to be able to do is increase transparency and accountability, so that consumers feel very confident that the product they buy is what they say about the label," he told ABC News.

The southern fishing caught the fish, inserted the tag at the catch point and turned it into threads in Perth.

From there, tag data is transferred to a QR code on the fillet package, which travels with the fish before it is printed on the menu for diners to scan while feeding the meal.

Potential space by mistake

Sounds good in theory, but human intervention is required along the chain to help put the technology in place.

The CEO of Austral Fisheries, David Carter, said he was sure that the correct data will be linked to each fish.

"We have two independent observers on board [each vessel] so it's not just our word, "he explained.

"There's really no incentive for us to misrepresent the labeled fish."

BCG Digital Ventures head of America, Paul Hunyor, said that technology makes information about fish sustainability much clearer to the public.

"If we compare it to what we have now, there are fake foods, fake labels and a lot of complexity that the foods you're eating are safe and really are what they say about the label," he said.

"For the first time this draws a link between the tag and data points that are stored securely in a blockchain."

He said there is no economic reason for the chain to be tampered with at any stage of the journey.

Once the data is stored in the blockchain, it is very difficult to change because all the parts have to agree to make any changes.

The final step of the journey is obviously at the restaurant table.

Customers can use their smartphone to scan the code, which then reports information on where and when the fish was caught, the duration of its journey up to the plate – and even the name of the ship's captain.

Protect Australian meat

Blockchain technology is also used to ensure that Australian meat sold in China matches the label.

The PwC research reveals that about $ 2 billion of meat is fraudulently sold as Australian beef every year.

This led the developer BeefLedger to collaborate with the Food Agility cooperative research center to send his first shipment of three tons of fine meat from South Australia to restaurants and consumers in Beijing and Shanghai this week.

The CEO of Food Agility, Mike Briers, said the move will help protect the reputation of Australian meat worldwide.

"BeefLedger provides a digital narrative that follows that meat from the farmer, to the feed, to the processor through distribution, before being transported in boxes to foreign markets," said Dr. Briers.

The CEO of BeefLedger Warwick Powell told ABC News that he hopes to expand consumer technology in Australia as well.

The Sydney Fish Market is also examining a range of technologies to store blockchain data including image recognition and e-nose technology that determines how fresh fish is by its smell.

"Distributed ledger technology eliminates ambiguity," said Erik Poole, head of supplying the Sydney Fish Market and business development.

"It's not," he said, "the car said."

In the meantime, last week the Patagonian puffer fish with the blockchain will reach the world stage, when it will be served to the leaders of the World Economic Forum in Davos.


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