Tech 12 December 2018

Erik Gibbs

Australian insurance company asks, “Where’s the beef?”

An insurance company working for the truck and transport industry in Australia wants to know where’s the beef. According to a report on Australasian Transport News (ATN), National Transport Insurance (NTI) has begun a partnership with blockchain company BeefLedger in order to create a pilot program that could use blockchain technology in order to provide end-to-end tracking of beef exports in the country.

Blockchain has already proven itself to play a significant role in supply chain tracking. The new program will be no different, allowing for improved food safety and animal welfare in Australia. It will employ a distributed ledger along with innovative packaging technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) in order to create and distribute real-time data for beef products, as well as supply chain performance.

NTI’s involvement in developing the blockchain is driven by its desire to mitigate insurance risks. The program follows a number of similar projects that have been launched around the world in order to better track supply chains and product distribution from their points of origin to their final destinations. These programs help to ensure product integrity and customer safety, as well as reduce the risk of forgery or counterfeit products entering the market.

According to Tony Clark, the CEO of NTI, “We’re excited by the prospects this presents across several streams of Australian industry: agriculture, animal welfare, transport and logistics. While it’s early stages, we’re optimistic of the outcomes and learning, and what it potentially means for Australian suppliers, exporters and consumers.”

Australian beef is becoming very popular. It is sought after by wealthy Chinese citizens, but there is a significant risk of food fraud and an overall ignorance of safety standards. Australia is currently the third largest beef exporter in the world behind India and Brazil. In order to maintain its position, and possibly move up in the ranks, the country needs to take the industry more seriously.

The chairman for BeefLedger, Warwick Powell, adds, “Research shows us that ethical standards and concerns for animal welfare, along with authenticity and proof of product origin, are amongst the top priorities for Chinese consumers. It’s also what’s driving consumer interest in Australian products.”

To that end, the new initiative should go a long way to ensuring that the beef that is distributed meets with consumer’s demands. The pilot will begin with premium livestock being credentialed before it is transported from Australia’s Limestone Coast to a processing facility in New South Wales. The tracking will continue as the beef is frozen and shipped off to Shanghai.

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