US Food Drug Administration says blockchain food traceability “game changer”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was intending to issue a blueprint on food safety when its attention shifted to COVID-19. But the FDA’s leaders state that COVID-19 has stimulated the requirement for improved food traceability measures leveraging emerging technologies like blockchain.
With various outbreaks of E.Coli in leafy greens in the past few years, food traceability tools are required for fast recalls that decrease waste. “We knew that these new technologies could be game-changers,” said Commissioner Stephen Hahn and Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas in a website article.
However, what has occurred during COVID-19 is both supply chain disruption and redirection. Supermarkets were initially overwhelmed by demand, although the food generally targeted at restaurants was wasted.
The FDA executives state that the same tools supporting recalls improve supply chain visibility and can assist in alleviating this sort of food waste. “We believe a digitized food system is likely to be a stronger, more agile, and resilient food system,” says the duo.
While these tools may be familiar to both recalls and visibility, the FDA has enlarged its soon-to-be-published blueprint for further issues emphasized by COVID-19. For instance, it needs to allow virtual and remote food inspections and prescribe best practices for foods ordered online and delivered directly to customers. The importance of an influential food safety culture is emphasized with hygiene coming to the fore during the pandemic.
In late 2018 Yiannas entered the FDA from Walmart, where he was Vice President of Food Safety. While at Walmart, the retailer signed up to IBM’s Food Trust blockchain network. Yiannas inflicted a series of deadlines requiring leafy green suppliers to execute blockchain traceability by September 2019. The FDA has also supervised blockchain pilots for drug traceability, where many of the participants are embracing Blockchain.
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