Australia Post is participating in an initiative with e-commerce company, Alibaba, and leading natural health company Blackmores, to explore the use of new technologies, including Blockchain to improve the traceability of food products. The rise in popularity of Australian food products in China, such as health supplements, beer, wine, honey and cherries, has been accompanied by an increase in the sale of counterfeit food. This poses potential health risks associated with adulteration and could lead to loss of trust from consumers and governments.
Australia Post Executive General Manager Parcels and StarTrack CEO, Bob Black, said, “The initiative will leverage our secure, reliable and fast service to support the authentication of Australian products bound for the Chinese market. Our food producers have a global reputation as being a clean, green and safe provider of food and we are pleased to help deliver a solution to enhance the integrity of their produce.” The initiative will reduce the risk of fraud and ensure that Australia remains a trusted exporter of high quality food.
Blockchain or Distributed Ledger Technology can potentially enable real-time audits, helping track the movement of food products across the supply chain, increasing transparency between producers and consumers. While the decentralised nature of the ledger protects it from being manipulated by one individual or entity, its immutability makes it nearly impossible to tamper with the records. Leading technology firms, Blockchain start-ups and manufacturing companies have been experimenting with the use of the technology for a variety of supply chain applications from tracking diamonds to automotive supply chains and shipping logistics.
Australia Post has been exploring the use of Blockchain in various areas, from voting (In August, Australia Post presented a plan to the Victorian Electoral Matters Committee to use Blockchain for voting) to identity management.
Featured image: Australia Post (From left to right) Australia Post Executive General Manager Parcels and StarTrack CEO Bob Black; Blackmores CEO Christine Holgate; Hon Steven Ciobo MP, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment; Managing Director of Alibaba Group Australia and New Zealand Maggie Zhou; PwC Australia CEO Luke Sayers (PwC is an advisor on the project)