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Are Distributed Ledger Technologies the panacea for food traceability?

Are Distributed Ledger Technologies the panacea for food traceability?
Are Distributed Ledger Technologies the panacea for food traceability?
Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), such as blockchain, has the potential to transform supply chains. It can provide a cryptographically secure and immutable record of transactions and associated metadata (origin, contracts, process steps, environmental variations, microbial records, etc.) linked across whole supply chains. The ability to trace food items within and along a supply chain is legally required by all actors within the chain. It is critical to food safety, underpins trust and global food trade. However, current food traceability systems are not linked between all actors within the supply chain. Key metadata on the age and process history of a food is rarely transferred when a product is bought and sold through multiple steps within the chain. Herein, we examine the potential of massively scalable DLT to securely link the entire food supply chain, from producer to end user. Under such a paradigm, should a food safety or quality issue ever arise, authorized end users could instantly and accurately trace the origin and history of any particular food item. This novel and unparalleled technology could help underpin trust for the safety of all food, a critical component of global food security. In this paper, we investigate the (i) data requirements to develop DLT technology across whole supply chains, (ii) key challenges and barriers to optimizing the complete system, and (iii) potential impacts on production efficiency, legal compliance, access to global food markets and the safety of food. Our conclusion is that while DLT has the potential to transform food systems, this can only be fully realized through the global development and agreement on suitable data standards and governance. In addition, key technical issues need to be resolved including challenges with DLT scalability, privacy and data architectures.
2211-9124
145-149
Pearson, Simon
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May, David
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Leontidis, Georgios
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Swainson, Mark
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Brewer, Stephen J
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Bidaut, Luc
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Frey, Jeremy G.
ba60c559-c4af-44f1-87e6-ce69819bf23f
Parr, Gerard
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Maull, Roger
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Zisman, Andrea
db678fca-1312-47a5-af6a-13f9d8789d72
Pearson, Simon
4dd66ce4-43df-4077-95ae-6ba202a7861b
May, David
3fd6ac24-91d7-4321-809a-08159b0149c4
Leontidis, Georgios
cc2c3598-0c10-41b4-a5d7-da8b385ab295
Swainson, Mark
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Brewer, Stephen J
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Bidaut, Luc
5c166884-c82b-4969-b54f-4ebae31ec827
Frey, Jeremy G.
ba60c559-c4af-44f1-87e6-ce69819bf23f
Parr, Gerard
54694fe6-0d2c-4e56-8c47-cfe2766f9bbe
Maull, Roger
06fedf75-3f08-4914-8a7f-f248d26235ea
Zisman, Andrea
db678fca-1312-47a5-af6a-13f9d8789d72

Pearson, Simon, May, David, Leontidis, Georgios, Swainson, Mark, Brewer, Stephen J, Bidaut, Luc, Frey, Jeremy G., Parr, Gerard, Maull, Roger and Zisman, Andrea (2019) Are Distributed Ledger Technologies the panacea for food traceability? Global Food Security, 20, 145-149. (doi:10.1016/j.gfs.2019.02.002).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), such as blockchain, has the potential to transform supply chains. It can provide a cryptographically secure and immutable record of transactions and associated metadata (origin, contracts, process steps, environmental variations, microbial records, etc.) linked across whole supply chains. The ability to trace food items within and along a supply chain is legally required by all actors within the chain. It is critical to food safety, underpins trust and global food trade. However, current food traceability systems are not linked between all actors within the supply chain. Key metadata on the age and process history of a food is rarely transferred when a product is bought and sold through multiple steps within the chain. Herein, we examine the potential of massively scalable DLT to securely link the entire food supply chain, from producer to end user. Under such a paradigm, should a food safety or quality issue ever arise, authorized end users could instantly and accurately trace the origin and history of any particular food item. This novel and unparalleled technology could help underpin trust for the safety of all food, a critical component of global food security. In this paper, we investigate the (i) data requirements to develop DLT technology across whole supply chains, (ii) key challenges and barriers to optimizing the complete system, and (iii) potential impacts on production efficiency, legal compliance, access to global food markets and the safety of food. Our conclusion is that while DLT has the potential to transform food systems, this can only be fully realized through the global development and agreement on suitable data standards and governance. In addition, key technical issues need to be resolved including challenges with DLT scalability, privacy and data architectures.

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Accepted/In Press date: 16 February 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 4 March 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 428677
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/428677
ISSN: 2211-9124
PURE UUID: a00fe270-e206-472c-be72-bb035afc9bf0
ORCID for Jeremy G. Frey: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0842-4302

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Date deposited: 06 Mar 2019 17:30
Last modified: 17 Sep 2019 01:11

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Contributors

Author: Simon Pearson
Author: David May
Author: Georgios Leontidis
Author: Mark Swainson
Author: Stephen J Brewer
Author: Luc Bidaut
Author: Jeremy G. Frey ORCID iD
Author: Gerard Parr
Author: Roger Maull
Author: Andrea Zisman

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