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Food Safety and Blockchain

12 November 2020  Traceability

Food is one of the necessities for the sustenance of life. A pure, fresh and healthy diet is the essential part of the society wellbeing. It is no wonder to say community health is national wealth. India’s Foods and Beverages Industry has also transformed over the last few years because of the rise of cloud kitchens and app-based food delivery and has created a new normal. Despite the new normal, the food and beverages adulteration has continued to grow unchecked. The 111th report (2018-19) on the functioning of the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) highlights that the proportion of adulterated or misbranded food sold in India has nearly doubled in the last eight years.

In the year 2012-13, 15% of the food samples tested found to be non-conforming to prescribed standards. Over the years, this has gradually gone up and now stands at 28.56% for 2018-19. The World Health Organisation estimates that almost 1 in 10 people become ill every year from eating contaminated food, with 420,000 dying as a result. For businesses, these kinds of losses are massive, leading to customers losing faith and trust. Beyond the financial impact, food adulteration can lead to serious public health risks and damage brands. The Food&Beverages sector is also prone to other challenges in this regard such as misleading claims of labels, untrue brand narratives, unlawful food processing, fudged certification, unchecked food hoarding and wastage etc.

Food safety at the core is nothing but a data issue.

If every stakeholder has the right data, and there is a way to share with others in the value chain, a lot of unsafe and adulterated products removed from the system. Blockchain is an essential element in this scenario as its characteristics make it a suitable tool to enable interoperability between various stakeholders. In this regard, the communication of information about a product’s origin from farm to fork to consumers is also vital to addresses concern over food safety. Essentially blockchain helps in tracking of the food items in the entire supply chain by unique identifiers such as Barcodes or QR, RFID transmitters. Compared to all the currently available emerging technologies, blockchain easily integrated within the whole supply chain by keeping the costs low and safekeeping a full chain of custody of data.

By Prateek Business Analyst @ETgarage

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