Australia Post and Blackmores have joined an initiative run by e-commerce giant Alibaba to combat the rise of counterfeit food being sold across China.
The project will take advantage of blockchain technology – a decentralised and highly available database – which could be used to obtain crucial details from suppliers about how and where their food was grown and map its journey across the supply chain. The technology has the potential to provide up-to-date audits, which will increase transparency between producers and consumers.
Australia Post and Blackmores – which signed a memorandum of understanding with Alibaba today – will test the solution across their supply chains during initial pilot testing. Professional services firm, PwC is also an adviser for the project.
The companies said the initiative will increase the traceability of food products, reducing the risk of fraud and ensuring Australia remains a trusted exporter of high quality food.
Food fraud is known to be one of the biggest issues facing the global food industry given the potential health risks associated with adulteration and loss of trust from consumers and governments. In recent years, counterfeiters have targeted popular Australian products such as health supplements, beer and wine, honey and cherries.
The new partnership follows an agreement Australia Post signed with Alibaba’s e-commerce network Lazada last month to establish a marketplace within Southeast Asia.
Under the agreement Australia Post’s storefronts are being extended beyond China to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, creating a platform for Australian businesses to products to consumers across the region. Since 2014, Australian businesses have been able to sell their products on Alibaba’s platforms including Tmall Global, Taobao Global, and 1688.com.
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