The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is looking to test the capabilities of blockchain for authenticating the source of food products.
It has begun to look for support on a project to explore how distributed ledger technology could be used in export health certification, saying it will support the British brand and make it easier for farmers and the food business to meet rules of origin for third countries.
The FSA said it wants to run a scalable working pilot that could be further developed with the food industry to take in additional products.
It would look at the capabilities of blockchain for improving the traceability of the supply chain, enabling users to view the relevant data digitally, remove duplication in reporting and paperwork, and use smart contracts to ensure the process is automated where feasible.
The move builds on recommendations of the Elliot Review into the Integrity and Assurance of Food Supply Networks which, while not referring to the technology, emphasised the importance of being able to trace food back to its source in order to increase consumer trust.
It also called for an increase in intelligence gathering and sharing and said there is a need to rationalise audits in the industry, placing more emphasis on assuring the authenticity of food products.
This is the latest evidence of growing interest in the potential for blockchain in public sector processes. HM Land Registry has indicated its intention of exploring the potential and the Scottish Government has published a report on the issue.
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