Blockchain technology has obviously played a huge part in cryptocurrencies, which have absolutely soared in recent months. But, this has led other ground breaking developments in blockchain applications to slip by almost completely unnoticed.
Take food safety for example – the introduction of blockchain technology will enable consumers to make more informed decisions when purchasing their groceries, which will not only reduce the food waste, but also has the potential to stop the spreading of certain illnesses through food contamination, which can go on to save many lives.
The issue of food safety is such an important one, and data from the World Health Organisation estimates that one in ten people around the world, fall ill after eating contaminated food each year. The is the cause of 500,000 deaths every year. As a way of tackling this issue, blockchain technology has been introduced.
Information regarding the production will be added to a decentralised database, which is easily auditable, so people will be able to gain an understanding of exactly what was required to produce the goods that they are consuming.
OwlTing, a Taiwanese e-commerce company, recently unveiled OwlChain, which is a platform based on the Ethereum blockchain network, registering each stage of food production. So, before purchasing some pork ribs for example, the consumer can view the ledger, and be able to see the piglets date of birth, details of all the food it has consumed and the vaccines it received whilst it was being reared. It will also include details of the slaughter, processing and transport path, so you know everything about the piece of meat that you are about to consume.
They are not the only ones though; IBM, Walmart and JD.com have all announced a Blockchain Food Safety Alliance collaboration to improve food tracking, which aim to make supply chains more transparent, traceable and accountable. Using this blockchain technology means that you can get detailed information in a matter of seconds, as opposed to days, and it is this reduced time frame, and the ability to identify problems with the food, will increase the food safety for the consumer.