January 23, 2019 / 11:32 AM / 7 months ago

From bait to plate: Blockchain platform tracks food's journey

SYDNEY (Reuters) - With a scan of their smartphones, consumers can now track the journey of their fish meal to ensure it’s a legal, ethical and sustainable product.

OpenSC, a global digital platform developed in Australia, allows users to scan QR codes with a smartphone camera to see where the product came from, when and how it was produced and follow its journey along the supply chain.

Launched by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and investment firm BCG Digital Ventures, it uses blockchain technology that records information such as the movement of the product and details of its storage.

This makes available accurate information on supply chains, enabling consumers to seek sustainable, ethical and fair products from companies, its developers said.

“What the OpenSC platform does is it democratizes that information,” Paul Hunyor, Managing Director of BCG Digital Ventures, told Reuters Television.

“What is the journey that the food that they’re consuming has been on? Where was it caught? How can they verify the location?” he added. 

Blockchain technology makes use of a database of records shared across a network that constantly checks record details to ensure any changes can be seen across the whole network.

OpenSC evolved from a WWF-led project that used blockchain to track tuna caught in the Pacific Ocean. BCG Digital Ventures was brought in to help build the platform.

The platform is now tracking fish and the developers expect to add other seafood this year. OpenSC is also in commercial discussions with potential partners on commodities such as palm oil and timber, a WWF spokesman said.

A worker smells yellowfin tuna meat sample for its freshness at a fish port in General Santos city in southern Philippines March 25, 2010. REUTERS/Erik de Castro

The platform was launched on Jan. 17 at the Aria restaurant of famous Australian chef Matt Moran in Sydney. Guests were able to track the journey of their lunch - fillets of Patagonian toothfish - from bait to plate.

OpenSC-tracked food will be served on Thursday to business leaders attending the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

“This will enable business leaders to sit down for a meal at Davos and have full transparency of where their food has come from,” the WWF said in a statement.

Reporting by James Redmayne; editing by Darren Schuettler

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