Alibaba has teamed up with Australian Post, Blackmores, and PwC to combat the rise of “food fraud” using blockchain technology. They have undertaken this initiative as a result of the rise in counterfeit food being sold across China. This proves to jeopardize the business of local producers, as they tend to lose tens of millions because their brands are simply copied.
Food fraud involves sellers putting up low-quality foods in the market and sometimes even counterfeit ingredients. It is one of the major issues faced by the global food industry, since food adulteration may lead to increase in health-related problems.
The Chinese e-commerce giant says they plan to develop a “Food Trust Framework” that will help in improving traceability on its global supply chains. They have chosen Australia to be the test bed of this new framework. The four companies will join hands to create a pilot blockchain solution model which will be used by participants across the supply chain from paddock to plate. The professional service company, PwC, will act as an adviser to the project.
Alibaba also mentions the blockchain technology will be best suitable to confront this issue. It enables up-to-date audits, the shipments can be tracked in real-time, enhance security, and lessen the risk of fraud which creates a high level of transparency between shippers and buyers. The technology behind bitcoins will be leveraged to derive key details from the food suppliers like how and when their food grew, and track its journey across the supply chain.
Australia Post executive general manager, Parcels and StarTrack, Bob Black, says this will guarantee that genuine products reach safely in the hands of consumers. He explained this project will utilize their secure and swift service to support the authentication of Australian products bound for the Chinese market. Christine Holgate, Chief Executive, Blackmores, said,
Every one of our products passes more than 30 quality checks and tests before being released for sale. This initiative with Alibaba Group, PwC and Australia Post will provide even greater confidence for consumers purchasing our products through e-commerce channels.
Earlier in January, Alibaba had filed a legal suit against two fake Swarovski watch sellers on its Taobao platforms and claimed 1.4 million yuan in damages for contract and goodwill violations. This was first such legal action taken by a Chinese e-commerce platform to crack down the sale of counterfeit products.