The new Blockchain Technology is built to create a direct bridge between farmer and consumer, a bridge fabricated on trust, honesty and transparency in monitoring food in all its phases. Climate change, overpopulation, modern consumerism, annulment of borders, the return of products at historic lows, are among the main factors causing agriculture collapse in quality. The amount of food required has led manufacturers to create looking good but sometimes rotten to eat foods with negative consequences in economic, environmental and health terms.
Some individuals use remedies opposed to food safety principles; prepare and store food in the wrong way increases the chance of contaminating and cause illnesses. What is the cause of food contamination? Let's see some food fraud cases in Italy:
- Sophistication: Add foreign substances improving the appearance and simulating the genuineness: for example using benzonile peroxide to bleach the mozzarella or the using of sulphur dioxide additives to give sausage a red colour;
- Adulteration: altering the structure of the food by adding or subtracting elements causing inconvenience to healthcare and trade: add water, subtract fat or add methanol as in the case of wine use to increase alcohol degree.
- Counterfeit: to form a food from scratch by replacing the original product's substances with different substances, for example use vegetable oil instead of the evo, glycerin or sulfur dioxide for carbonated soft drinks or making false Made in Italy products.
- Changes: the original product change due to degenerative phenomena caused by incorrect treatment or mode by long retention period or by alternating temperatures.
Blockchain and Smart Agrifood
The Blockchain is a chain of blocks in which transactions are permanently recorded. But how can it be used in agribusiness? With Bitcoin we exchange information about the possession of virtual currency. In the food industry instead you can obtain information about the production of an agricultural product, a simple process in which all actors in the food chain are connected. Farmers, suppliers, processors, distributors, retailers represent the nodes in the Blockchain who register and certify information accessible to everyone about the history of the product, from his birth to his deployment for a transparent supply chain.
Nowadays, due to its complexity, it’s impossible to guarantee the provenance of products; own this kind of data means trap and trace outlaw products which could cause food contamination. The Blockchain technology would record a series of information sheets, impossible to tamper with, that guarantee higher levels of food safety, traceability and control over the entire supply chain.
This is the correct way to add value to the food product in light of the growing demand for Made in Italy food. Made in Italy products have become such through the history and culture that have refine the “taste”. This is the reason way the EU released the “Label Quality” EU: PDO, PGI, PAT, SGT, DOCG, IGT,are a series of marks and labels that not reassure consumers anymore.
Safeguard the typicality of a product certifying each phase, from seed to harvest, knowning the use/abuse of plant protection products used (as the use of glyphosate), from storage to transport, from temperature monitor of cold rooms for all trip duration, from distribution to consumption, intercepting date and place of possible contaminated food or allowing the consumer to know the history of the product becomes possible with the help of Blockchain Thecnology in the food sector, a secure and reliable certification. This help to restablish trust and security in a world mostly counterferit.
- Farmers can use IoT (Internet of Things) and sensors to produce quality products maintaining a high level of Made in Italy, and to monitor the first phase of life of the food.
- Real time data on transport, storage and delivery of food to ensure that food traceability and transparency.
- Consumers obtain information using a simple App for Smartphone that is able to see how the product you are purchasing or consuming was treated.
From America to Italy, multinationals and SMEs have already started to use Blockchain Technology in their industry, from agricultural to fish products, from milk to wine, from health to insurance companies, applications are endless because it is a technology that simplifies transactions favouring transparent relationship between all actors involved.