CHO Using IBM Blockchain To Combat Food Fraud!
CHO, one of the biggest olive oil producers in the southern Mediterranean, declared on Jan. 14 that it is utilizing IBM blockchain technology to render traceability for its Terra Delyssa extra virgin olive oil. The organization is the latest primary food provider to enter IBM’S Food Trust Network.
Employing blockchain enables CHO to trace Terra Delyssa over 8 quality assurance checkpoints, including the farm where the olives were produced, the factory where olives were smashed, and the departments where the oil was drained, bottled and circulated.
Vice president of IBM Blockchain Supply Chain Solutions Ramesh Gopinath stated that utilizing blockchain technology generates a verifiable record of where every bottle of CHO olive oil was produced, along with keeping a record of the ways used. Gopinath described:
“The best part of the IBM Food Trust network is its ability to connect members of the supply chain, like the end consumer with the farmer. CHO has done just this, as every entity involved can share data, which not only provides traceability and food information but also shows where food trust is heading in general.”
CHO America’s CEO, Wajih Rekik, stated that CHO olive oil is produced by Tunisian farmers, which is mentioned on each bottle’s design. Although the company has been victorious in building transparency by informing customers where their olive oil originates from, CHO wanted to attach a layer of faith to its products.
IBM’s blockchain technology, by Hyperledger Fabric, enables Terra Delyssa retailers to scan a QR-code on each bottle’s label to analyze a product’s origin record.
Rekik emphasized that Terra Delyssa’s entirely traceable extra virgin olive oil is recently being bottled and expected to reach stores at major retailers in the United States, France, Canada, Germany, Denmark, and Japan by March.
According to Rekik, olive oil mislabeling, especially for more expensive grade labels like “extra virgin,” is especially common. Tests conducted by the National Consumers League in 2015 and 2019 reveal that half of all olive oils located on store shelves held misleading labels, going beyond issues associating with flavor profiles. The CEO of the National Consumers League, Sally Greenberg, explained Food & Wine magazine:
“You can’t be sure unless you’re a very well informed consumer that a bottle labeled ‘extra virgin olive oil’ is that very high quality. […] The value of having extra virgin olive oil is that it’s good for you. It has some particular healthful properties that are positive for consumers and their families. So you lose out on those. You lose out on the excellent flavor that you get from really excellent extra virgin olive oil. And you pay top dollar for substandard olive oil.”
A recent IBM Institute for Business Value research found that 73% of customers will pay a premium for complete clearness into the products they purchase.
Gopinath also noted that as food scam continues to grow, the IBM Food Trust Network becomes more comprehensive.
“The number of Food Trust clients is growing. By the end of this year, we will be much bigger than we are currently. We are linking together the entire food ecosystem to provide transparency and greater consumer trust.”