USA – Massachusetts based seafoods company, Raw Seafoods Inc has partnered with leading technology solution provider, IBM to explore the use of blockchain technology in improving food safety along the seafood value chain.

Starting with scallops, the new approach will allow various stakeholders in the seafood value chain to trace a shipment from farm, factory or fishing boat to market.

The platform will collect data on the scallop’s packaging and shipping date, along with images and video. Permissioned parties such as retailers and customers at point-of-sale can then access this information, which is stored on the blockchain.

Rajendra Rao, general manager of IBM Food Trust explained that digitization will play a critical role in tracking any food chain especially through reduction of time.

“Traditionally, tracing the origin of a given food product could take days, if it was possible at all, especially for wild-caught sea scallops.

“By reducing that time frame to a matter of seconds, we’re able to solve three of the core consumer concerns that deter them from enjoying seafood: safety, sustainability and authenticity,” Rao explained.

“We are always actively engaged in helping our suppliers, retailers and restaurants deliver a product that’s well above the industry standard for quality and freshness,” Daniel McQuade, VP of marketing, Raw Seafoods added.

“With IBM Food Trust, we found the perfect tool for establishing a direct link between the consumer and the captain of the boat that caught their fish, empowering shoppers and diners to demand more from their food supply chain.”

Raw Seafood, also plans to build an app, connected to the platform, that will allow consumers at a restaurant to scan a QR code on the menu to get detailed information about the scallops before they order.

Blockchain technology applications are offering promising solutions to reduce food safety. In the United States, the solution has been endorsed by the members of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus.

In a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Congress of the United States (Washington) lauded the agency’s efforts on maintaining food safety through the use of blockchain platform, among other technologies.

While the challenge has been getting suppliers to participate, especially when there is such a wide range of technological abilities along the chain, stakeholders are continually exploring the remarkable solution in addressing food safety concerns.

In recent discussions with stakeholders utilizing blockchain technology, the member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus made the following proposition as part of efforts that could strengthen the food safety system;

  • Creation of incentives for entities to invest in advance technologies, like blockchain, to aid with foodborne illness outbreaks and regulatory compliance.
  • Fostering public-private collaboration to find ways to transparently share data in a protected environment during foodborne illness outbreak or similar critical need.
  • Continue messaging on permissioned food safety blockchain as an enterprise application to encourage companies in the food system to invest in technologies that can operate parallel to federal compliance requirements.

Among the benefits of using the blockchain technology in the food industry include reducing the scale of recalls in cases of outbreaks, and more importantly increase consumer safety.