The Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology is participating in the EU’s Horizon 2020 project by helping fund a food safety initiative called the EU-China-Safe project. Its goal is to reduce food fraud and improve food safety by focusing on traceability and authenticity. A Belfast company called Arc-net will be using blockchain technology to combat food fraud in the two trading regions.
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Perhaps as a sign of things to come, GS1, the global business standards organization, is urging early blockchain adopters to incorporate its track and trace standards into their systems. Blockchain “industry leaders have an opportunity to avoid divergence of internal systems and data formats and to accelerate their adoption of blockchain technologies for enterprise by leveraging the GS1 and ISO open standards EPCIS and CBV, which are global multi-sector standards that enable the exchange of traceability data and serial-level (or item-level) track-and-trace,” GS1 said in a recent position paper.
Efforts to enhance the safety of food from China will likely become more pressing following the Trump administration’s deal with Beijing in May to allow imports of cooked poultry from China in exchange for exports of U.S. beef and rice. The deal has been praised by U.S. farm and beef producers but criticized by consumer groups due to China’s poor food safety reputation.
The move “will put U.S. consumers at risk for illnesses from potentially unsafe food imports,” Food & Water Watch complained. In July, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), a vocal food safety proponent, introduced legislation that would ban Chinese-produced or processed meat and chicken from being served in national school lunch and other federal food programs.
“Given China’s demonstrably poor food safety record, it is unacceptable to take any unnecessary risks with the health of American school children—our most vulnerable population with respect to foodborne illnesses and sensitivity to potentially dangerous chemicals,” Rep. DeLauro said.
“Consumers should not have to worry about whether the chicken they buy comes from China, but at least this legislation will let them know that their local public school is not feeding their children Chinese chicken in the cafeteria,” added Thomas Gremillion, director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America.