Michael Best attorney Emily Lyons published an article discussing the intersection of blockchain technology and the Agribusiness and Food & Beverage industries. Emily writes:
“When most people think of blockchain, they think of its application to cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. However, the technology has the potential for much broader uses across a wide swath of industries, particularly including agriculture and food. We are already starting to see some use cases, as there has been a recent surge in large food and retail firms looking to invest in the technology as a means to increase supply chain transparency in the food system. For example, IBM partnered with Nestle, Unilever, Tyson Foods, Walmart, and other food companies to use blockchain to increase traceability and tracking of certain products. Additionally, Walmart is now requiring direct suppliers of lettuce, spinach, and other greens as well as farmers, logistics firms, and other supply partners to join the big-box store’s food-tracking blocking starting in 2019.
Blockchain technology is a decentralized, distributed, and digital ledger that is cryptographically secured, and records transactions simultaneously across all of the computers (nodes) in a given network, once the nodes reach consensus on the outcome of those transactions. This makes the chain of records extremely difficult to tamper with or change. The adoption of blockchain and other technologies in the food and agriculture industries will continue to grow as demand for clear, accessible, and authentic data and consumers’ pressure on food companies for increased supply chain transparency grow.
With the addition of Frank Yiannas, former Vice President of Food Safety for Walmart, to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s staff as Deputy Commissioner of Food Policy and Response, there is a great deal of speculation that the agency will require a blockchain technology solution in the future for food traceability and recall purposes. Given the importance of data integrity, the FDA might also consider requiring the use of blockchain technology for compliance with its prior notice requirements for imported foods or for food facility registration.”
To read the full article, click here.
If your company is considering adopting blockchain technology, Michael Best has attorneys who specialize in the agribusiness and food and beverage industries, who are supported by the firm’s Blockchain, Digital Currency & Smart Contracts and Digital Technology teams. These attorneys can help you understand the potential benefits to your business, and navigate relevant legal issues such as data protection and privacy, jurisdictional considerations, and the use of smart contracts, among other blockchain-related considerations.