UK Food Standard Agency Completes Blockchain Pilot for Food Supply Chain

UK food regulator the Food Standard Agency (FSA) has successfully accomplished a pilot using blockchain technology according to an announcement published July 2. This was reportedly the first time blockchain has been used as a regulatory tool to ensure compliance in the food sector.

The pilot was implemented in a cattle slaughterhouse, where both the FSA and the slaughterhouse were authorized to access data in order to improve transparency in the food supply chain. In July, the agency is looking to launch another pilot, which will allow farmers to access data about animals from their farm. Sian Thomas, Head of Information Management, said:

“Our approach has been to develop data standards with industry that will make theory reality and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to show that blockchain does indeed work in this part of the food industry. I think there are great opportunities now for industry and government to work together to expand and develop this approach.”

In the future, the FSA states that they will attempt to replicate the program in other plants. The agency said that in order for blockchain to be permanently implemented, it must be an industry-led initiative, as the current data model is used only for the collection and communication of inspection results.  

Blockchain continues to gain momentum in the supply chain sector, potentially reducing inventory management and enabling greater efficiency. Recently, a group of companies including Walmart, Nestlé SA, Dole Food Co., Driscoll’s Inc., Tyson Foods Inc., and Unilever NV teamed up with IBM in order use blockchain technology for tracking food globally through its supply chain.

Last month, Microsoft partnered with supply tracking solutions provider Ardents to develop a new product tracking platform using blockchain and artificial intelligence. The system reportedly offers end-to-end traceability and visibility from the point of origin along the whole supply chain, allowing users to trace single product items within a case.

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