Posted 8 months ago | by Ben Armstrong

US Government – Blockchain Vital Part of Agricultural Supply Chain

The Dept. of Agriculture's standardization and testing authority, known as Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), recently stated that decentralized ledger technology (DLT) is a key component of the future agricultural supply chain in the USA.

According to the AMS, DLT systems that are closed to the public could be very useful for keeping track of agricultural goods in the global food supply. The agricultural supply chain is extremely complex, and it can be very difficult to track contaminated items.

The AMS isn't the first one to think of using blockchain, or a similar technology, to track food items. In fact, WalMart already has a blockchain-based food tracking system in place, which has shown the radical difference that blockchain can make in complex systems.

Blockchain is Perfect for Tracking Food

The joint food tracking blockchain that was developed by WalMart and IBM resulted in a system that could trace the origin of a food product in just 2.2 seconds – down from seven days with the legacy food tracking system.

Of course, the faster tainted food is removed from the supply chain, the more people are protected from potentially deadly food.

A more recent entry into the blockchain-based food tracking industry is BeefChain, which unsurprisingly created a blockchain platform to be used in the US beef industry. In April of last year BeefChain received a USDA certification for the Process Verified Program – meaning that some aspects of a cows characteristics can be verified by the system.

BeefChain works with a hybrid blockchain/RFID system that is inexpensive, and may be rolled out on a wider basis in the coming years.

Blockchain on the Rise

It is important to note that the blockchain platforms that are being used for tracking food are in no way public, and are likely to be owned by major corporations. This isn't exactly ideal for consumers, as they still have to rely on a big company to allow them access to data that could save lives.

Despite this unpleasant reality of living in a global corporate oligarchy, blockchain-based system should help agricultural producers and distributors to achieve a higher level of oversight in an extraordinary complex food production and delivery system.

On the downside, these same technologies can be used to effectively keep records on anyone who works within the system, which means tracing complex personal data would probably take place in a matter of seconds.