Open any cabinet in your kitchen, and point your finger - and you’re sure to find a product which has travelled thousands of miles to reach you. But it’s hard to imagine how many times even a simple, minimally processed item (such as an apple, or a bottle of extra virgin olive oil) may have changed hands, prior to their appearance in your home.
On average, most items intended for everyday consumers easily pass through a dozen entities in the food supply chain - pickers, processors, quality control, packagers, and distributors - before landing on the shelf at your local grocer.
All of these steps are necessary in order to deliver food items sourced from all over the world, directly to your doorstep - however, current regulations leave much to be desired when it comes to ensuring both food safety and quality. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) enacted in 2011 requires only “one-up, one-back” data. This means that each entity involved is only required to keep track of their own movements within the food supply chain - who they received product from, and who they sold it to.
Even the FDA admits that this is more reactionary than proactive - in fact, it is already facing challenges in enforcement - and without transparent traceability, any weak link in the food supply chain can pose a serious risk to consumer health and safety.
Some concerned companies are choosing to leverage new breakthroughs in blockchain technology to provide proactive solutions to the challenges posed by traceability. Bellucci is at the forefront of this initiative, calling upon a newly-forged partnership with Oracle (one of the world’s largest providers of enterprise software) to provide greater food supply chain transparency.
This isn’t the first time Bellucci has broken ground at the interception of food and technology. In fact, their Trust Through Traceability campaign has been widely covered over the last few years - and even resulted in the development of their own app, which can be used to trace each bottle of extra virgin olive oil they produce back to its birthplace - down to the very grove in which the olives were harvested. Their products are also backed by Bureau Veritas, which requires extensive analysis and verification by a certified third-party service.
How will use of blockchain technology improve this process? Well, the blockchain is a distributed database, which creates an unalterable record of any event which is entered. An elegant and effective solution to the question of who handled what, when, and where - participants can access, review, and add to records - but are incapable of altering or deleting information which has been previously entered.
The workings are complex - but the solution itself quite simply results in the creation of a permanent, accessible, and insightful trail of information, leading from source to shelf. This will provide an immediate boost to all efforts focused on increasing food safety, as well as streamlining the process of record-keeping and distribution - improving Bellucci’s ability to deliver the utmost in fresh, high-quality goods to their customers.
If that weren’t enough, Bellucci plans to take their efforts above and beyond - incorporating Oracle’s blockchain technology not only for verification purposes, but with the goal of offering complete transparency into the food supply chain via an open ledger system. Their current efforts start at the bottling facility, carrying all the way to US distribution - however, the goal is to document the entire journey of their goods, from farm to table.
The hope is that the next time you open your cabinet door, you won’t need to imagine the journey your extra virgin olive oil made to get to your doorstep - you’ll simply be able to look it up for yourself. It’s a lofty goal - but one Bellucci is facing head on.
“We exist, because we believe that both buyers and growers deserve a world in which authenticity and quality are valued and verified.” says Bellucci spokesperson Susan Testa. “Bellucci was built on a foundation of trust, quality, and authenticity. Blockchain verification is just the next step for us.”