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FDA’s New Initiative to ‘Explore’ Usage of Blockchain Technology

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On Friday 7th June 2019 the United States Food and Drug Administration agency published a press release as part of World Food Safety Day. The nature of the press release was to discuss the USA’s role in the safety of food worldwide.

Within the report Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas discusses the affect that unsafe food is having on people around the globe.

He explains that food borne pathogens kill 420k people around the globe, annually. He also explains that, over a quarter of those affected are children under the age of 5 years old, emphasising the need for action from the global community.

“420,000 deaths annually around the world, 125,000 of them in children under age 5”

Currently the USA is responsible for importing roughly 15% of the global food supply and does so from over 200 countries or territories. This includes roughly a third of the fresh vegetables, over half of the fresh fruit and nearly all of the seafood eaten by US citizens.

The above statistic emphasises the impact a food pathogen originating from anywhere in the globe could have on the USA’s food industry. And highlights a need to act upon food safety globally.

Blockchain to the Rescue?

Within the report Yiannas discusses the initiatives which the US FDA plan to investigate in an attempt to improve the quality of food safety worldwide. One of which is the “New Era of Smarter Food Safety” – an initiative setup by Yiannas and FDA Acting Commissioner, Ned Sharpless.

While explaining the purpose of the initiative Yiannas makes it clear that the focus of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety is to “leverage new and emerging technologies to further our food safety goals”.

He goes on to state that this approach has lead the US FDA into exploring the use of technology which is being used within society and businesses, including blockchain, sensor technology, the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence”.

Yiannas goes further to explain that the aforementioned technology will assist the US FDA in creating a “more digital, traceable, and safer food system.”.

While the report doesn’t mention any specific blockchain based project the fact that the US FDA is researching use cases for blockchain technology can only be a good sign.

Love, peace and happiness.

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