Blockchain to "revolutionize" Australian agriculture industry's fight against food fraud

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-16 08:32:30|Editor: Lifang
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SYDNEY, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- Farmers in the Australian state of Queensland have taken to using blockchain technology to counteract food fraud.

A blockchain is a database of transaction details of a product which can be accessed by consumers by scanning a QR code on a product's packaging with a smart phone.

Agriculture workers believe that the technology could be the answer to combatting misleading food packaging information such as whether a product is organic or information about the cow a steak came from.

Warwick Powell, director of Beefledgger which has launched a blockchain system for high-quality products being exported to China, said the technology would revolutionize how producers reach their consumers.

"What we are trying to do is use the blockchain or distributed ledger to deliver certainly of information," Powell told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Thursday.

"It's being driven by a number of concerns emanating from export markets for food safety, and certification of origin.

"Out of China, for example, Australian beef is priced very highly which results in a high risk of fraud, and Beefledger aims to empower the consumer to be sure that what they are paying for is what they get.

"A consumer can more or less engage directly with the local community from where something came."

Grazier Sonya Comiskey has started to develop blockchain for the beef her family's ranch produces, a task she said would ensure the product made it consumers' plates without tampering or substitution.

"Its application to agriculture is pretty exciting, particularly around provenance, food safety and traceability," she said.

"We're constantly getting bombarded with messages that we need to tell our story ... here is a way that we can do that," she said.

"People make a lot claims but being able to back those claims is really important, (especially) without extraordinarily complicated and expensive certification schemes."