U.S. Department of Agriculture Proposed DLT for Organic Product Supply Chain


August 11, 2020 10:06 am

U.S. Department of Agriculture Proposed DLT for Organic Product Supply Chain
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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Marketing Service has proposed amending its rules on organic products to include implementing blockchain technology to trace its supply chain.

On August 5, per a report from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), the agency stated it demands electronic tracking systems, including digital ledger technology (DLT), will play an “essential role” in the traceability of its supply chain of organic products.

“DLT can provide secure, verifiable, transparent, and near-instantaneous tracking at the item level in complex supply chains,” the report stated. “Critically, DLT can also protect confidential business information and trade secret information by automatically restricting sensitive information to authorized entities.”

Though, the agency confirmed that utilizing rising technology like DLT would require additional time and development before a system could be implemented in the organic food industry. The proposed amendment affirmed:

“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”

Pilot Programs of Blockchain Technology

The USDA report did not mention blockchain technology by name, but mentioned numerous pilot programs as references, including Walmart using blockchain traceability systems for mangos and pork, Swiss-headquartered food retail giant Nestlé testing a public blockchain for its milk supply chain, and U.S.-based seafood firm Bumble Bee Foods monitoring the supply chain of yellowfin tuna from Indonesia.

There is no requirement currently to be certified under the USDA’s existing program, for any individual, businesses, or organizations who are participating in the global organic agricultural product supply chain and before October 5, they can review the suggested rule and submit comments.

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