USDA proposes blockchain registration for the organic supply chain

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed changing its organic produce rules to implement blockchain technology to track its supply chain.

According to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) August 5, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), The agency anticipates that electronic tracking systems, including distributed ledger (DLT) technology, will play an “essential role” in tracking their organic supply chain.

“In complex supply chains, DLT can enable secure, verifiable, transparent and almost instantaneous tracking at item level,” the report said. “In principle, DLT can also protect confidential business information and trade secrets by automatically restricting confidential information to authorized bodies.”

USDA proposes blockchain registration for the organic supply chain
USDA proposes blockchain registration for the organic supply chain

However, The agency realized that using a new technology like DLT would require additional time and development before a system could be implemented in the organic food industry.

“Barriers to widespread adoption of an electronic tracking system include inadequate access to technology and connectivity in rural areas, adoption of universal electronic standards (interoperability) and cost sharing,” the proposed amendment states.

Supply chain test cases

The USDA report did not mention blockchain technology by name, but did cite several pilot programs for reference.These include Walmart, which uses blockchain traceability systems for mangoes and pork, Switzerland-based food retail giant Nestlé, which is testing a public blockchain for its milk supply chain, and Bumble Bee Foods, a seafood company with the US-based company overseeing the supply chain for Yellowfin tuna in Indonesia.

Any person, company or organization involved in the global organic supply chain that does not currently need to be certified under the existing USDA program can review the proposed regulation and submit comments until October 5th.

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