Tech 17 January 2019

Paul How

WWF monitoring food products via blockchain

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia seeks to promote environmentally sound practices by the monitoring of food products with blockchain.

According to the organization’s tweet, consumers will be able to use OpenSC, a blockchain-powered food tracking platform, to ensure their food is derived in a legal and environmentally friendly manner, simply by scanning a package’s QR code. The platform is a collaboration between WWF-Australia and BCG Digital Ventures.

The use of OpenSC is not just limited to food, it can be used for anything found at a supermarket. According to WWF-Australia, a unique code is entered into the blockchain at the point of a product’s origin, and from this, information such as environmental impact of practices will be recorded until delivery to the end user.

As an example, WWF-Australia used a wild-caught Patagonian toothfish. “By simply scanning a product QR code with their smartphone camera, OpenSC will show where the fish in front of them was caught, how it journeyed along the supply chain, and importantly – that it comes from a certified sustainable fishery and was not caught inside an established marine protected area,” it said in its website.

WWF-Australia noted that consumer purchases tend to indicate one’s social and environmental concerns, for which OpenSC is intended to cater to. Not only could OpenSC verify whether fishing occurs in legal waters, but it also provides data such as whether the vessel used to catch a fish was registered.

During the product’s launch, WWF-Australia served the toothfish as part of the menu, complete with QR code. “Each fish fillet has an individual QR code, which comes from the unique RFID tag created when the fish is caught,” the organization tweeted.

ZDNet reported BCG Managing Director saying, “We’ve designed this technology to be highly compatible both with existing supply chain operations and certification systems, but also to interface with other blockchain-enabled providence solutions.”

Last October, the United Nations announced its partnership with blockchain platform Ambrosus for its One Planet Network initiative, which also aims to promote sustainable consumption and production of food through distributed ledger technology.

The UK Food Standard Agency has already used blockchain to ensure safety and freshness of meats, in a cattle slaughterhouse.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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