The Ministry of Science and ICT and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs have joined forces to integrate blockchain technology to help improve food supply chain traceability. The South Korean government has chosen the beef industry as their pilot for food auditing via distributed ledger technology. The program will launch its first tests this December and the beef supply chain project is set to officially start January 2019.
Why beef? Beef is an excellent candidate for improved food traceability solutions because it can be subject to recall for various reasons like e.coli or if we can remember far back to widespread scares like “mad cow disease.” Blockchain technology provides the framework for automated accountability and transparency throughout the chain.
Stores selling beef products will be able to track origins and give customers peace of mind and protection in the event of an outbreak. Beef-eaters in South Korea will be able to enjoy purchasing meat products they can trace all the way back to a specific farm or processing plant. It might put pressure on meat producers to create better standards for how they raise, slaughter, and process the beef before it hits the shelves. The government will be using IoT devices attached to the cows to facilitate automated data collection via Bluetooth in an effort to move away from pen-and-paper processes and improve tracking.
“The paper-based reporting system, however, takes time and money, and is exposed to risks of fake certificates. The new platform uses blockchain technology to store related information and certificates in the distributed ledger to enhance efficiency and credibility,” the ministries said.
South Korea isn’t the only country focused on deploying blockchain for food traceability. Supermarkets across Europe and Walmarts in the U.S. have already implemented IBM’s blockchain-based food tracking solution. The South Korean government in an effort to keep up with the global tech race has dedicated $4.4 billion to new innovations like AI and blockchain for 2019.