If you have pets at home, then the recent news of salmonella and other disease-causing bacteria in pet food must have shaken your trust in pet food companies. The ingredient with which the pet food is prepared, like- raw meat, eggs, etc. can contain salmonella. Also, the room where the dry food is coated with flavoring is moist, giving the bacteria a perfect environment to grow. The repeated incidents of pet food recalls have left the pet owners worried about the quality of the ingredients in the food they feed their furry companions. The good thing is that the technology has a solution to this problem. With the help of blockchain technology and IOT, companies can achieve a greater level of assurance for the growing pet supply market.
Blockchain Technology– a game changer for the pet food industry
Touted as potentially game changing, pioneering innovation, blockchain is all set to revolutionize the pet food industry which has been tainted by allegations of contamination and adulteration. With advanced safety features such as cryptography and biometrics, it promises to make the pet food industry more transparent at an all-new level.
With a decentralized blockchain ledger driven by smart contracts, everyone within the ecosystem will be able to verify each individual ingredient used in the production of pet food. They will even be able to identify every ingredient’s source in order to ensure quality and food safety.
In the event of adulteration or contamination, the culprits can be quickly identified and the tainted food can be recalled much earlier, preventing loss of lives and money.
How Blockchain technology records information and enhances safety?
Blockchain technology can trace long and complicated supply chains. Its accuracy, transparency, speed and security allow quick and easy traceability of products. Human food product companies, like Nestle have already been using Blockchain with great success and now the very same technology is all set to revolutionize the pet food industry too. Here’s how it records supply chain information and enhances its safety:
Blockchain is basically a decentralized digital ledger that uses hash based cryptology to ensure security and trust. A blockchain, as the name indicates, consists of a chain of blocks. Each block contains three elements-
- New Hash
- Hash of the previous block
The data stored inside each block depends on the type of information stored in the blockchain. For example: If a blockchain stores the information about food supply, it will store information of farmers, processing units, manufacturers, distribution centres, retailers etc.
Original hash of the block
Each block contains a unique hash, which is created cryptographically. Just like the human fingerprints, it gives unique identification to each block and all of its contents. If someone tries to temper with a block, the hash will also change. Once that happens, it no longer remains the same block.
Hash of the previous block
The third element that makes a block is the hash of the previous block. It is the hash of the previous blocks that connects blocks, creating a chain of blocks. If someone tries to change the hash of one block, all the blocks will become invalid, as they will no longer have a valid hash of the previous block.
Distributed network ensures safety of the blockchain
Central entity is not required to manage the blockchain. To ensure additional safety, peer to peer network (P2P) is used, where everyone is allowed to participate. When someone becomes a part of the network, that participant gets the complete copy of the blockchain. Now, when a new block is created, the block is sent to everyone on the network. Each node (participant computer) then verifies the block and if everyone validates it, the block is added to their blockchain. In other words, blocks that are valid, become a part of the blockchain and the blocks that are tampered with are rejected.
How will it bring transparency in the pet food industry?
The supply chain in the pet food industry is made by connecting:
- Raw material sources
- Factories that use these raw materials to create pet food.
- Distribution network that delivers these pet food products to consumers
On a global scale, the pet food supply chain consists of millions of people along with tonnes of raw materials. This makes it difficult for manufacturers to track the sources of their different products. As a result, the transparency in the supply chain is compromised. Here’s how blockchain and IOT can help:
- In a blockchain-based supply chain management, provenance tracking and record keeping will become easy as the product information can be easily accessed with the help of RFID tags and embedded sensors.
- The entire history – from production stage to seller history can be traced, making the system more transparent.
- Accurate provenance tracking will enable the law enforcement agencies to detect frauds easily.
- Pet food companies will be able to provide information and data to the stakeholders, which will ensure transparency. This will help reduce delays and disputes while preventing goods from getting stuck in the supply chain.
- Large database of information will be accessible from multiple locations.
- Immutability and transparency make blockchain technology useful for eliminating frauds in pet food supply chain and maintaining the integrity of the system.
IOT and Blockchain – A win-win situation for consumers and suppliers
IOT (Internet of Things) and blockchain technology will help consumers understand the origin of their pets’ food, the process of production, and the places it traveled to arrive in the supermarket. By using this technology, the pet food manufacturers will have a competitive edge over other players through increased accountability. The consumers will be able to breathe easy with the regained trust and increased brand loyalty.
It’s sad that very little regulation of commercial pet food quality exists today. So, the contamination and poor quality often go unchecked. Thankfully, with Blockchain and IOT, these worries could soon be set aside, allowing pet owners to enjoy complete peace of mind that they are providing their furry kids the best nutrition possible.