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July 3, 2018updated 04 Jul 2018 10:31am

Food Standards Agency Trials Blockchain in Slaughterhouse

First use of blockchain as a regulatory tool within the food sector.

By Umar Hassan

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has successfully concluded a two-month pilot that saw it use blockchain technology in a cattle slaughterhouse.

It is the first time that blockchain has been used as a regulatory tool to ensure compliance in the food sector.

For the pilot both the FSA and the slaughterhouse had permission to access data on the distributed ledger. A further pilot is planned for July which will give permission to farmers to access data about animals from their farm.

Sian Thomas, Head of Information Management at FSA, said in a release: “We thought that blockchain technology might add real value to a part of the food industry, such as a slaughterhouse, whose work requires a lot of inspection and collation of results.

“Our approach has been to develop data standards with industry that will make theory reality and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to show that blockchain does indeed work in this part of the food industry. I think there are great opportunities now for industry and government to work together to expand and develop this approach.”

The FSA said it using Hyperledger for the project.

Food Standards Agency – Hotbed of IT Innovation?

The FSA is developing a reputation as something of a government IT pioneer. In April it ditched a single source model for ICT managed services and moved to a mixed provision of in-house services and third party supplies.

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The authority said it was previously spending £3.5 million each year on a single source model for its managed services and a further £1 million each year on its other contracts and licences. It is now prioritising the use of commoditised technology sourced in the most cost effective and flexible way possible. It claims to have now cut costs by 40 percent.

The FSA established a Food and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) collaborative group last year and is working with blockchain experts from government, the food sector, technology industry and academia on the use of the technology.

 

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