Blockchain Pilot For Food Supply Chain Completed By UK’s Food Standards Agency

Announcements, Blockchain | July 3, 2018 By:

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has successfully piloted a blockchain supply chain monitoring system, marking the first time the technology has been used as a regulatory tool to ensure compliance in the food sector.

The FSA, a non-ministerial government department of the UK, is responsible for protecting public health in relation to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is led by a board appointed to act in the public interest.

The blockchain pilot was implemented in an unnamed cattle slaughterhouse, where both the FSA and the slaughterhouse had permission to access data. According to the FSA, the pilot proved that blockchain can improve transparency across the food supply chain.

“This is a really exciting development. We thought that blockchain technology might add real value to a part of the food industry, such as a slaughterhouse, whose work requires a lot of inspection and collation of results,” said Sian Thomas, FSA Head of Information Management.

The FSA said it will be launching another blockchain pilot later this month which will give permission to farmers to access data about animals from their farm. In the future, the agency said it will attempt to replicate the program in other plants. The goal is to ensure that all those across the chain get the full benefit of the new way data is managed and accessed as permissioned data to the FSA, slaughterhouse and farmer.

Last year, the FSA established a Food and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) collaborative group to explore the use of blockchain in regulatory compliance of food. If the upcoming pilot proved to be a success, the FSA said the permanent use of the technology must be industry-led, as the current data model is used only for the collection and communication of inspection results.

“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,” Thomas said. “I think there are great opportunities now for industry and government to work together to expand and develop this approach.”