Without shadows and dark places: Why food chains need to become transparent

Without shadows and dark places: Why food chains need to become transparentSource: The food supply chain is really very complexSource: Blockchain makes a chain more transparentSource: Transparency is very important for security
Without shadows and dark places: Why food chains need to become transparent
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Without shadows and dark places: Why food chains need to become transparent

Food and water are basic human needs. But it’s important not only to have access to food and drink, but also to be sure that what you eat is safe for you. What is in the composition of your products? Where are they from? How were they stored?

Data is a much more important thing than we are used to thinking, and the world is faced with the need to properly manage and share information that can be trusted. If a person consumes food that he knows nothing about, he has a high risk of illness and even death. WHO publishes statistics where:

• An estimated 600 million fall ill after eating contaminated food and 420 000 die every year, resulting in the loss of 33 million healthy life years.
• Children under 5 years of age carry 40% of the foodborne disease burden, with 125 000 deaths every year.
Food safety, nutrition and food security are inextricably linked. Unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition, particularly affecting infants, young children, elderly and the sick.

Tell Me What You Eat, And I'll Tell You Who You Are

Buying food in the hypermarket, a thorough study of the compositions and packaging can not 100% protect you from trouble. Labeling and product safety statements are not always true. Even large corporations with established supply chains are sometimes unable to track the appearance of prohibited components in their products.

In Germany in 2011, a coliform outbreak traced to fenugreek sprouts infected 3 950 and left 53 dead. In 2015 Nestlé India had to recall a huge number of its Maggi brand instant noodles from the Indian market, when levels of lead above the permitted limits were found. In 2016, millions of chocolate bars were recalled in 55, mostly European countries, because plastic parts were found in them.

Often the worst food safety incidents occur in China: from baby milk spoiled by industrial chemical melamine to the use of used oil containing a carcinogen. In 2016, authorities discovered 35 restaurants that sold opium poppy seasoned products. In 2014, it was found that a meat supplier repackages and sells expired meat to McDonald's and KFC in China.

Such cases and many others indicate a constant threat to the life and health of people that no one can completely exclude.

We Know We Don't Know Anything

Moreover, news about infected and poor-quality food may not always be true as well. Food companies use black PR and even lies in the news and social networks in order to destroy competitors, promote their products and acquire a larger market, but the consequences of this lie are the total distrust of consumers in information about products.

The belief that food is safe is important not only for collaborating companies and participants of supply chains. Recent research suggests that consumers really need to know what they eat.

However, it’s difficult to find out what lies on your plate, and here an opaque and inefficient supply chain is at the center of the problem, especially when it comes to perishable products such as meat and vegetables.

The food supply chain is really very complex. Numerous manufacturers, combines, processors, consultants, agents, temporary workers, retailers who are involved in food production often affect only a very small part of the food supply. As a result, the food market turns into a tangled ball, where it is impossible to find out exactly what and where it came from.
Source: The food supply chain is really very complex
Source: The food supply chain is really very complex
Source: Blockchain makes a chain more transparent
Source: Blockchain makes a chain more transparent
Source: Transparency is very important for security
Source: Transparency is very important for security

Food Market Exempted from Chains

Safety requirements include the urgent need to identify sources of pollution and stop them. This is only possible if we use all the information about each section of the supply chain. The most suitable information technology for such tasks is a distributed and manipulation-resistant database, that is, a blockchain.

China, especially suffering from food safety issues due to excessive levels of food additives and agricultural chemicals and microbial contamination, has already launched several startups related to traceability of supply chains. The companies participating in them are no less interested than consumers: product recall, insurance risks and compensation in case of detection of unsafe products can be expensive for the company’s budget and reputation.

Chinese groups of scientists are already publishing studies confirming the effectiveness of blockchain-based startups. The database, which cannot be manipulated, connects the manufacturer and the consumer almost directly, simplifying both the supply chain of products and its traceability. This builds a sustainable and credible environment for the food market, reduces risks and costs for both the consumer and the producer of the products.

Big businesses also conduct their tests and introduce their own blockchains for information traceability. Prior to using blockchain, Walmart conducted a traceback test on mangoes in one of its stores. It took six days, 18 hours, and 26 minutes to trace mangoes back to its original farm.

By using blockchain, Walmart can provide all the information the consumer wants in 2.2 seconds. During an outbreak of disease or contamination, six days is an eternity. A company can save lives by using blockchain technologies.

It is not necessary to share all the information with the whole world in general, and some parts of the supply chain can only be known to the manufacturer in order to keep the secret of production. Putting even certain sections on the blockchain already gives advantages for user trust: Consumer trust in the quality of a processed product depends on the ability of the processor to communicate not only processing data but also origin information about the product, which implies robust traceability and transparency to the grower in virtually instances.

Food safety is everyone's responsibility. It is a matter of health and life that every person faces every day. The introduction of technology in the supply chain is a necessary step for the health and prosperity of mankind.

FOODCOIN Can Help

Not every food company can develop and test its own blockchain: development takes costs and time, which in the face of fierce competition in the market can turn out to be critical and unbearable.

We created FOODCOIN so that every business owner could apply blockchain technology to their business. Each stage of production is fixed in a distributed database, which can be open to each user or available only to company employees. Products are marked with QR codes, which make it easy to track the origin, composition and shelf life of the product. Transactions within the supply chain can also be transferred to the blockchain and carried out using smart contracts, which greatly simplify legal and insurance procedures. FOODCOIN offers its own payment processor for making payments. Also, the interface available to users of the platform includes tools for management and tracking.

Registration in the system is simple and quick, each entry made to the blockchain is verified and confirmed. Transparency and traceability of supply chains is increasing significantly, and thanks to a distributed database system, the information about them is trustworthy.



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