Australia Post, Alibaba to explore use of blockchain to combat food fraud

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Australia Post is participating in an initiative introduced by e-commerce giant Alibaba and natural health firm Blackmores to combat the rise of counterfeit food being sold across China.

The partners said they will work together to increase the traceability of food products and reduce the risk of fraud, and will explore new technologies, including blockchain technology - a decentralised and highly available database - which could obtain crucial details from suppliers about where and how their food was grown and map its journey across the supply chain. 

he technology has the potential to enable up-to-date audits, increasing transparency between producers and consumers.

Australia Post Executive General Manager Parcels and StarTrack CEO Bob Black said the project would help guarantee that only genuine Australian products arrive safely into the hands of Chinese consumers. Australia prides itself as a trusted exporter of high quality food. 

“Our food producers have a global reputation as being a clean, green and safe provider of food and we are pleased to help deliver a solution to enhance the integrity of their produce,” Black said.

Food fraud is known to be one of the biggest issues facing the global food industry, considering the potential health risks associated with adulteration and loss of trust from consumers and governments. In recent years counterfeiters have targeted popular Australian products such as health supplements, beer and wine, honey and cherries.

Last month, the two companies also signed an agreement to extend Australia Post’s online storefronts beyond China to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia using the e-commerce network Lazada, which Alibaba has a majority stake.