IBM is developing a blockchain-powered proof-of-concept (PoC) for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which is a branch within the US Department of Agriculture. The PoC will assess how blockchain can enhance export certification procedures.
FSIS is tasked with certifying that the US commercial supply of meat, poultry and egg products meets the established safety standards. An FSIS representative confirms that the platform will aim to identify inefficiencies in a legacy system that involves several regulatory processes along with complicated, multi-country documentation requirements.
The food safety agency is in charge of issuing recalls and other warnings regarding tainted, compromised or misbranded food products that are under its jurisdiction. The FSIS issued an alert in January involving a Swedish meatball mixup.
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is issuing a public health alert because Carso’s Pasta Company, a Lynnwood, Wash. establishment, sold 636 pounds of ready-to-eat (RTE) Swedish meatball products that were misbranded. The products contain anchovies (fish), which are not declared on the product label. A recall was not requested because it is believed that the products are no longer available for consumers to purchase.”
A list of recalls shows that Class III violations, for a host of non-life-threatening violations, are rare. However, there were a total of 97 Class I recalls in 2018 for foods that could cause serious adverse health consequences or death. The recalls track everything from Salmonella in chicken salad to E. coli in raw ground beef to extraneous materials in pepperoni sticks.
According to a food safety report published by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, Class I recalls jumped 83% from 2013 to 2017.