The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed implementing blockchain technology to trace the supply chain of organic products.
It has been reported by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) that the agency said it expects electronic tracking systems, including digital ledger technology (DLT), will play an “essential role” in the traceability of its supply chain of organic products.
However, the report stated:
“DLT can provide secure, verifiable, transparent, and near-instantaneous tracking at the item level in complex supply chain. Critically, DLT can also protect confidential business information and trade secret information by automatically restricting sensitive information to authorized entities.”
The agency acknowledged that utilizing emergent technology like DLT would require additional time and development before a system could be implemented in the organic food industry.
The proposed amendment stated:
“Barriers to widespread adoption of an electronic tracking system include inadequate access to technology and connectivity in rural areas, acceptance of universal electronic standards (interoperability), and distribution of costs.”
As per the report, the USDA report did not mention blockchain technology by name but cited several pilot programs as references, including:
- Walmart using blockchain traceability systems for mangos and pork,
- Nestlé testing a public blockchain for its milk supply chain, and
- Bumble Bee Foods monitoring the supply chain of yellowfin tuna from Indonesia.
Thus, any individuals, businesses, or organizations participating in the global organic agricultural product supply chain are not currently required to be certified under USDA’s existing program can review the proposed rule and submit comments before October 5.