US FDA Considers Blockchain for Food Security


The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a blueprint and pilot study for food safety, highlighting blockchain as a viable option for some of the identified challenges. 

The blueprint, released earlier this week, breaks down some of the challenges facing food distribution throughout the country and looks at how smart technologies could solve them:

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“Our world is evolving at a breakneck pace. With this evolution comes new technologies, ranging from new digital tools to new sources of food ingredients. […] These advances provide new tools and approaches for tackling food safety issues, but also present new issues to consider in determining how to regulate food safety.”

The technologies mentioned include artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, sensor technologies and blockchain, and are looked at in relation to four topics: tech-enabled traceability, prevention and outbreak response, retail modernization, and food safety culture.

Blockchain technology is mentioned specifically in relation to receiving “critical tracking events and key data elements from industry and regulatory partners.”

The FDA has been talking blockchain for years

The FDA has been talking about blockchain’s potential over the last two years. In June, the FDA’s Food and Drugs Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Food Policy and Response Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas noted the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on the food supply chain sector, stating that blockchain is one of the technologies that make it easier to track and trace products through the supply chain. 

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IBM have laid the groundwork

IBM brought blockchain to the agriculture and shipping industry with their FoodTrust program launched in conjunction with Walmart. Servicing many of the major retail giants in America, the blockchain records food product information and certification reducing pain points such as certification storage and product recalls.

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Author: Joshua Mapperson

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