IBM has teamed with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to design a proof-of-concept based on blockchain technology that is intended to help modernize the FSIS food export certification process.
The proof-of-concept is one part of the FSIS 2020 Annual Plan, which committed to developing a proof-of-concept for blockchain management as a potential mechanism for addressing export certification challenges and identifying greater efficiencies in the export certification process.
“The blockchain proof-of-concept is a feasibility assessment to validate a number of attributes for the food inspection supply chain,” according to an FSIS spokesperson. “These include identifying potential optimization of the business processes, increased immutability, and visibility of critical documentation traversing across the supply chain (e.g., export business process).”
According to FSIS, the feasibility assessment and partnership with IBM on this project is expected to make food export certification more transparent and tamperproof, and FSIS will begin by studying the export business process. The proof-of-concept will assess whether blockchain technology can bring increased immutability and visibility of critical documentation across the supply chain.
FSIS provided IBM with a non-descript blockchain contract worth $269,450 in August of 2019, with an end date of June 2020. The underlying blockchain technology that IBM employs utilizes an immutable ledger. As the data comes in, FSIS will be able to identify and explore the benefits of blockchain so that it can make informed decisions about how to modernize its processes.
The FSIS 2020 annual plan revealed a goal of the department in 2020 was to continue to modernize its import–export system, and look to expand its public health information system export module to include other countries and additional products. Blockchain management was cited as a potential mechanism for addressing export certification challenges and identifying greater efficiencies in the export certification process.