Australia: National Transport Insurance Partners on Blockchain for Food Safety Trial

Australia’s National Transport Insurance (NTI) has announced it will trial a blockchain system to improve supply chain integrity for beef exports abroad. The trial was reported by local transport industry magazine Fully Loaded ATN on Dec. 10.

NTI will reportedly be partnering with BeefLedger, an Australian “integrated provenance, blockchain security and payments platform,” which combines blockchain with Internet of Things (IoT) technology to bolster product credentials across the supply chain.

NTI and Beefledger’s pilot will use the system to track the provenance and production of Australian beef exports to Shanghai, from their rearing on South Australia’s Limestone Coast to a processing facility at Casino in New South Wales, and on to China. As ATN reports, Australia is the third largest beef exporter globally, with some 45,000 cattle producers forming the backbone of the industry.  

The use of blockchain to provide an immutable record of the provenance, safety and integrity of beef products is expected to bolster the confidence of suppliers, exporters and consumers alike. BeefLedger chairman Warwick Powell has explained the choice of the Australia-China route for the blockchain pilot, outlining that in the context of burgeoning demand for beef imports, there is an “increased risk of counterfeiting and poor safety standards.” He noted that:

"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."

As previously reported, tech giant IBM has partnered with major United States retailer Walmart on the development of “The Food Trust” blockchain, which aims to track food provenance globally and allow companies to easily identify issues involved with food recalls, such as tracing contamination more quickly to limit customer risk.

This summer, the government of the South Indian state of Kerala announced it would begin using blockchain for food supply and distribution, also in combination with IoT technology.