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How Blockchain Can Solve the Food Safety Problem in China

In this article, we discuss current issues with food security and how blockchain technology can solve these problems.

The 2008 Chinese Milk Scandal

A crisis in confidence in China’s food industry emerged after melamine was found in domestically produced baby formula in 2008. The scandal sickened 300,000 babies and resulted in six premature deaths. An additional 50,000 babies were hospitalized. The issue raised concerns about food safety and political corruption in China, and damaged the reputation of China’s food exports. At least 11 countries stopped all imports of Chinese dairy products. A number of criminal prosecutions were conducted by the Chinese government

Overall food safety problem

Other stories of fake eggs, diseased pork, recycled oil, mislabelled meat and more have only led to more calls for industry reform. This even lead the People’s Republic of China to introduce a new Food Safety Law in 2015.

However, lack of food safety legislation is only part of the multi-faced problem of the food industry. One possible reason for this influx in food safety issues is also the complexity of current food supply chains, which make it hard for participants of the industry to verify the origin and quality of their products. In today’s globalized economies, these food safety problems can potentially affect thousands (if not millions) of people at once.

Opportunities of blockchain

Blockchain is a shared, traceable and immutable ledger that can be used for record-keeping throughout the whole food supply chain: farm origin, factory ID, batch number, expiration date, storage conditions (e.g. temperature), shipping data. Thus, blockchain can vastly improve the transparency and accountability of food supply chains.

With every step being transparent, consumer confidence in a product increases as producers and any parties involved in the process can be held accountable. Safety issues can easily be identified and traced back to specific production facilities or batches. What is already being implemented in the pharmaceutical industry, could soon be transferred to food supply chains. That is, small IoT devices, that tracks different contextual data (temperature, delivery time, humidity, etc.) of food production and logistics and stores the data tamper-resistant and transparently available on the blockchain.

We at Morpheus Labs believe strongly that blockchain will be a huge facilitator in making food supply chains more transparent and secure and are excited to soon share more information on how Morpheus Labs will take part in improving the food industry.

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