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How Will Blockchain Technology Promote Food Safety?

Food and Beverages | Thursday, December 19, 2019

Blockchain technology is the safest method that can improve supply chain traceability.

Fremont, CA: The food industry needs an efficient method to trace food products back to their source, especially in the light of Escherichia coli outbreaks last year. The cause of the epidemic was difficult to predict for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One possible solution for companies is to utilize blockchain technology to the traceback problems that occurred in the E.coli. When technology is applied throughout the supply chain, it could provide better farm-to-table data. Here is how blockchain technology increases food safety.

Blockchain comprises three components working together to form a chain of blocks that can also be described as the unalterable history of data set. The distributed ledger tracks the updates which the blockchain users make to its contents and is the first component. It is distributed over a network of computers, each containing the copies of the ledger. These computers form the second component and are called nodes. The third component is the block that is formed every time whenever a user updates the ledger, and the new block is connected to the preceding block.

The three components work such that first, the entire system is encrypted, and the members can access it only if they give their unique, private identification codes. Members cannot make any changes to the ledger because whenever a member accesses the ledger, it will initiate a change that navigates through the network of nodes for approval. The other nodes will approve only if the change complies with the pre-established rules of that blockchain. Only if it complies, a new block is formed containing the updated ledger, which is chained in chronological order to the preceding blocks. As changes require network-wide approval and private keys control access, blockchain technology is one of the safest methods and essential technology for improving supply chain traceability.Knowing the secure nature of blockchain, many companies have started implementing this technology to promote food safety and transparency. Walmart has taken notable strides towards executing this technology in partnership with IBM. The company is successfully tracing more than 25 products using this technology, including meat, mangoes, and baby food.

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