China’s food industry has been riddled with toxic and fake food scandals in recent years, as food production is struggling to keep up with a growing population.

The e-commerce giant Alibaba, states that fraud is costing the global food industry $40 billion a year.  Counterfeit soy sauce, rice, and eggs are among the potentially deadly items that have been found for sale. In a new trial, Alibaba is using an incorruptible blockchain database to track an authentic item going from a manufacturer to a consumer.

China’s online shopping giant is initially testing this structure on Australian and New Zealand imports. Dairy brand Fonterra, and Blackmores, a health supplements company, are the first companies to use the framework. Once the item arrives with the buyer in China, they can scan a special QR code to see the blockchain-verified database that shows it is a genuine product. Consumers benefit from being able to view the origins of their food, and the journey of their purchase. If a product was marketed as organic, the buyer could potentially view the item’s source via a blockchain to see if it really came from an organic farm.

The goal of the programme – first announced in theory in March 2017 – is to use the blockchain database to “achieve end-to-end supply chain traceability and transparency to enhance consumer confidence and build a trusted environment for cross-border trade,” said Alibaba in a statement.

Do you think that the initiative of blockchain-based tracking can clean up the supply chains?