Alibaba seeks blockchain tech in battle to stop food fraud

After a tough 2016 and mounting criticism, China's e-commerce giant Alibaba is continuing its public push against counterfeits as it plans to run a new pilot scheme aimed at stopping food fraud from its sites.

The company said it will use blockchain technology - the tech underpinning digital currency Bitcoin – according to Business Insider Australia, while PricewaterhouseCoopers has also been called in by the company to help improve integrity and traceability on its supply chains as part of the scheme.

The online news site says that Alibaba ANZ MD Maggie Zhou has penned a memorandum of understanding with both the Australia Post and Australia-based nutritional supplement maker Blackmores.

This pact will see the two companies offer in-market testing across their supply chains for the pilot; if all goes to plan, Alibaba said this would help it create a new "global supply chain model" for its e-commerce markets.

Last year, through blockchain, a bottle of wine was for the first time tracked used blockchain tech, which generates a digital identity for the wine to verify its legitimacy.

This program worked via the collection of more than 90 data points and high-res photography and tracking information; all of which was then written permanently into the blockchain, with information updated as the bottle changes ownership.

Similar systems could be used for Alibaba's pilot, potentially making it more secure.

Zhou said: "Food fraud is a serious global issue that not only costs the food industry billions every year, but puts consumers' health at risk. The signing of today's agreement is the first step in creating a globally respected framework that protects the reputation of food merchants and gives consumers further confidence to purchase food online." The deal came amid China's premier Li Keqiang's visit to the country.

China has been beset by food fraud and scandals over the years, and this also comes as Alibaba is coming under pressure itself to do a better job in combating fakes, and was last year, not for the first time, put on the "notorious market" by the US Office of the Trade Representative (USTR).

The company's founder Jack Ma came out earlier this month telling China to do more to crack down on fakes by increasing penalties for counterfeiters.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top