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UK Food Standards Agency trials first use of blockchain in supply chain

Sian Thomas, Head of Information Management at FSA, described the pilot as an “exciting development” for the food safety sector.

The UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) has successfully piloted a blockchain-based supply chain monitoring system, in what it says has been “the first time blockchain has been used as a regulatory tool to ensure compliance in the food sector.”

The food safety watchdog is responsible for protecting public health, relating to food in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  

The blockchain pilot was implemented at an unnamed cattle slaughterhouse and aimed to ensure compliance with safety regulations.

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Sian Thomas, Head of Information Management at FSA, described the pilot as an “exciting development” for the food safety sector. 

“We thought that blockchain technology might add real value to a part of the food industry, such as a slaughterhouse, whose work requires a lot of inspection and collation of results,” she said.

“Our approach has been to develop data standards with industry that will make theory reality and I'm delighted that we've been able to show that blockchain does indeed work in this part of the food industry.

“I think there are great opportunities now for industry and government to work together to expand and develop this approach.”

Blockchain technology records data and it cannot be altered. The technology was originally developed to track the transfer of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

In the blockchain pilot, both the FSA and the slaughterhouse has permission to access data which helped to improve transparency across the food supply chain.

In July, the agency aims to launch another pilot that will allow farmers to access data about animals on their farm.  

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