Blockchain service for beef products launched

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

New blockchain-based traceability service could build trust in the beef supply chain
New blockchain-based traceability service could build trust in the beef supply chain
A blockchain-based traceability service is being launched by auditing specialist NSF International, which aims to improve operational efficiency and cut costs for farmers while improving consumers’ trust in the supply chain.

A trial on beef cattle involving an unnamed UK retailer is underway, with results expected by mid-year. NSF expects to launch the service in September.

Managing director Rob Chester announced NSF Blockchain at the firm’s 2019 conference ‘Addressing new realities’, in March. The service is designed to link details from farms all the way through to consumer retail purchases.

By using a freely available mobile app, shoppers will be able to scan Quick Response (QR) codes on packs of beef to reveal their story and assure themselves of the products’ provenance and quality. Ultimately, the plan is to extend the service to lamb, pork and poultry products.

Traceability and compliance

The digitised assets produced by recording and tracking individual animals would make traceability, provenance and regulatory compliance an everyday part of efficient farming, said Chester.

The system uses the unique identifier farm animals are given at birth, their legally compliant radio frequency identity (RFID)-enabled ear tag, a sample of their DNA and their GPS location on farm. All are held on a blockchain-secured database that can be shared.

As each animal matures, details such as weight and age are captured and its journey is tracked through processing to supermarket shelves. While not expected to eliminate deliberate fraud, the service would help improve verifiable supply chain transparency and traceability, reported Chester.

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