Chinese Retail Giant To Use Blockchain To Track Beef, Prove Food Safety

The Chinese[1] e-commerce giant is implementing Blockchain[2] to track the supply chain of its meat sales, Business Insider reports[3] on March 3.

JD said that customers will be able to monitor their meat from the farm in Australia[4] where it was raised, all the way to their doorstep. When the system becomes operational later this spring, customers will be able to check how the meat was raised, butchered, and transported. The tracking system is the result of a partnership with Australian beef producer HW Greenham & Sons Pty Ltd.

In China, counterfeit goods often “slip under the radar”. In August 2016, 319 pigs contaminated by prohibited drugs, including salbutamol and clenbuterol, were discovered[5] in southeast China. Blockchain technology provides a solution in boosting consumer confidence, as it allows to verify the origin of the meat in seconds.

Chief technology officer at JD, Chen Zhang, said that the new Blockchain-based system will reassure consumers that they have purchased “safe, reliable products for their families.”

“Consumers in China don’t just want quality imported products, they want to know that they can trust how and where their food is sourced, and blockchain helps us deliver this peace of mind,” said Zhang.

Blockchain has also proven a boon to food suppliers who, in addition to improving consumer confidence, can use the distributed ledger system to track the origin of foodborne illnesses like salmonella. This more accurate method of tracking would allow suppliers to quickly locate the source of the contaminated products and could lead[6] to less food waste during the recall process.

Last year, the US retail giant Walmart[7] teamed up[8] with IBM[9] to build a Blockchain platform on which they could identify and remove recalled foods from their products list. JD, Walmart, and IBM are all members of the Chinese Blockchain Food Safety Alliance, along with Tsinghua University, according to Business Insider.