Tech study examines food traceability through the supply chain

17 June 2020

Information standards body GS1 US has completed the first phase of a proof of concept study looking at how food traceability data from multiple platforms can be exchanged throughout a supply chain.

Traceability platform providers FoodLogiQ, IBM Food Trust, and SAP simulated a seafood supply chain using GS1 standards in order to test if items could be tracked and their location transmitted as they passed along the chain. 

The platforms used technologies such as blockchain and cloud to prove that it was indeed possible for products to be traced, in a move that could enable faster and more efficient food recalls.

Any attempts to use blockchain technology to enhance traceability in the food supply chain require software systems to be interoperable as multiple participants in a supply chain are unlikely to use the same software.

Outside the food industry industries such as transport are also studying ways to develop interoperability standards and facilitate the use of blockchain technology for transparency in supply chains.

The test used GS1 Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) and in the next stage the four solution providers will work with suppliers, distributors, retailers and foodservice operators to see how EPCIS would function in the real world.

The study appears to be hoping to resolve some of the commercial problems associated with data sharing and privacy, which are a major obstacle to the implementation of blockchain technology.

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