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Proving the authenticity of Australian meat products using blockchain technology: Meat & Livestock Association (MLA)

How Unico helped the Australian red meat industry establish if blockchain technology could be used to encourage supply chain traceability.

Proving the authenticity of Australian meat products using blockchain technology: Meat & Livestock Association (MLA)

How Unico helped the Australian red meat industry establish if blockchain technology could be used to encourage supply chain traceability.


Customer

  • Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA)

Project

  • Blockchain technology for red meat traceability

Objectives

  • Establish if blockchain could provide a transparent, trusted lineage of a value chain
  • Establish if blockchain technology could be integrated into existing processes 

Approach

  • Utilise blockchain to record live cattle movements through interface to the NLIS database 
  • Conceptualise a blockchain solution that could record lineage of beef product from processor to consumer
  • Use blockchain to demonstrate how potential fraudulent products received by the consumer can be detected  
  • Demonstrate transparency of blockchain through a user interface that can inform all members of the supply chain 

Outcome

  • Successfully implemented and integrated

Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) identified the potential for Blockchain technology to determine the provenance of Australian red meat products for overseas markets. Across the industry demonstrating the origin of meat is crucial to ensure food safety, quality and determine the conditions upon which that product was produced.

MLA sought to understand how Blockchain might be applied in the Australian red meat industry and identify the potential benefits and challenges it could bring to two beef supply chains.  

Working closely with the MLA, Unico performed two proof of concepts (PoCs), one with each of the major suppliers, Stockyard (A premium producer of high quality Angus and Wagyu) and Teys (One of the largest meat processors and exporters in Australia). 

Both PoCs were to engineer a label for beef products that consumers could scan to prove the provenance of their chosen product. Our team selected Quick Response Codes (QR) to function as the labelling system due to their widespread use on IOS and Android systems.

Traceability data would be entered into an application via a web interface and then printed onto a QR code stamp. All data regarding provenance of the beef is stored in blockchain and immune to change negating the risk of fraud.

When beef arrived at a point of purchase, the buyer could then use QR labels to retrieve information from the application to verify where their product has come from as well as information regarding its carbon footprint and standards for ethical treatment.


The project demonstrated that provenance could be achieved using blockchain technology despite the amount of supply chain stakeholders and bio security regulations. It also demonstrated how brands could build trust with consumers by using this technology to determine if their products fit within their personal standards.

Supply chains are a highly promising area for the application of blockchain technologies. The neutral ground provided by a blockchain can help integrate disparate participants in a supply chain, and the integrity and audit trail in a blockchain ledger will improve transparency and confidence within the industry.

Consumers will benefit from the transparency and immutable nature of a blockchain, allowing them to purchase with confidence in respect to the origin of the product. Future iterations of the solution will have the added benefit of recording, product type, frequency of purchase and the location of purchase. 


Evan-Harridge

Evan Harridge

Director of Innovation and Enterprise