Strengthening Food Safety With Blockchain Technology

    Foodborne illnesses are a preventable and under reported public health problem.

    Each year foodborne illnesses sicken 48 million Americans (approximately 17% of people in the United States) and lead to 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. These illnesses are a burden on public health and contribute significantly to the cost of health care. Food hazards, including germs and chemical contaminants, can enter the food supply at any point from farm to table. Most of these hazards cannot be detected in food when it is purchased or consumed.

    A critical part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s mission is safeguarding the human and animal food supply, helping to ensure that food is not contaminated at any point during its journey along the supply chain. 

    Maintaining food safety has become unconditional when it comes to food trade and customer  demand.  The  food  put  on the  market  has  to  be  of  good  quality and  safe  for consumption, as well as not be a source of disease and infection. That being said, the food and beverage industry face a host of food safety challenges, ranging from lack of traceability and transparency, to compliance and recall prevention; and e-commerce giants and shifting consumer expectations are challenging the industry to be more agile and transparent than ever before.

    Significant growth in the recent number of food safety incidents and recalls, an increase in media scrutiny and evolving regulatory requirements have placed increasing responsibilities on food safety to regain consumer trust by delivering consistently high-quality food across the complex supply chain, while meeting the various regulatory requirements

    When it comes to food traceability, many businesses are stuck in a past where each segment in the food system is responsible for keeping track of food, taking one step forward to identify where the food has gone and one step back to identify the source. And, it’s largely done on paper. Moreover, changes in food production and supply chains are becoming more complex, providing more opportunities for tampering and difficulties in track and trace.

    Blockchain technology for supply chain management makes a supply chain more transparent at an all-new level, especially when it comes to food safety.

    Blockchain technology allows quick and easy verification of history, location, and status of a particular food product. Farm origination details such as batch numbers, storage temperatures, shipping details, expiry dates, and factory and processing data can be digitally recorded on the blockchain. End-to-end traceability would improve the efficiency of the food supply chain. Data would be digitally entered on a blockchain and hence, everyone with access to the blockchain can access the data. 

    As the need for blockchain for tracking food globally through the supply chain becomes more pervasive across industries such as food and beverage, it is becoming more apparent that systems and processes will involve communication and integration with multiple blockchain networks and technologies. 

    BlockSpaces has created a solution: BlockSpaces Connect, a system designed to serve as an integrated message bus for blockchain-based applications and their underlying blockchain technologies and platforms while, client-side, hiding the technical complexities associated with integrating the various blockchain networks. Connect takes the mystery out of blockchain integration and simplifies data connections between disparate systems. Delivered with a code-free interface without requiring significant technical expertise, Connect is built for the specific challenges of blockchain integration. Our workflow automation platform utilizes a library of pre-built integrations to connect everyday business applications with multiple blockchain networks to provide data visibility and efficiencies beyond individual, disparate systems and information silos. 

    When you are working to contain a case of Salmonella or other food-borne diseases, every second counts. Having a secure blockchain record to reference can make it easier not only to recall the exact cases, lots, and batches that are likely to be contaminated, but to also pinpoint the exact source of the incident so that it can be resolved. Blockchain technology is without a doubt a major player for strengthening food safety standards across the United States.

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