U.S.: Food Safety Watchdog Taps IBM Blockchain for Export Certifications

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According to a Coindesk report published on February 3, 2020, a multinational conglomerate, IBM is developing a blockchain proof-of-concept for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) – the U.S.’s food safety arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). This move will help the organization to evaluate how blockchain can optimize export certification systems.

FSIS Taps DLT to Bring Transparency to Meat Supply Chain

Blockchain technology continues to hit the right chords of government administration entities in the U.S. as the FSIS and the USDA look slated to leverage distributed ledger technology (DLT) to certify that the country’s exported meat, poultry, and eggs are up to the mark. This involves stringent checks of the export products and checking them against the U.S.’s standards, and, per the destination, other nations’ regulations as well.

Per sources close to the matter, FSIS inspectors verify documents, stamps, shipping containers and a minimum of one sample of the export produce. These products are compared against a broad set of regulations after which the ensuing manual and digital paper trail accompany them in transit.

The report says that the proof-of-concept will gauge whether DLT can bring “increased immutability and visibility of critical documentation traversing across the supply chain,” the spokesperson explained, noting that the FSIS will start by studying the “export business process.”

The spokesperson added that this is the first instance that the FSIS has tried to utilize blockchain technology for any of its operations.

The contract, which runs through June 2020, will give IBM ample time to understand FSIS’s exact requirement and as to what role DLT might play in the agency’s future. The spokesperson said:

“The intent of the proof-of-concept is to identify and quantify the potential benefits [of blockchain] so that the agency can make an informed decision on the next steps.”

DLT in Supply Chain

Blockchain has emerged as a silver bullet for the global supply chain management space which is often plagued with a cobweb of regulations and international laws. Especially, when it comes to perishable goods like meat, the problem becomes all the worse.

BTCManager reported on August 6, 2019, how IBM had announced DLT-based supply chain solutions with companies including Cisco, GlaxoSmithKline, Lenovo, Nokia, and Vodafone.

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