IOTA Foundation, a non-profit foundation focused on distributed ledger technology (DLT) and open-source ecosystem development, has announced a partnership with UK based Primority, a digital food safety management company that helps food product manufacturers monitor food safety in food supply chains. The partnership includes the development of a prototype app that will allow consumers to easily check what allergens are in a food product when contemplating a purchase.
Following recent high profile allergy incidents which resulted in completely avoidable deaths and/or serious illness in children and young people, additional laws are being enacted on allergen information transparency for consumer retail products. According to a 2018 survey in Pediatrics, 20 percent of children with a food allergy required hospital care during the past year for a life-threatening reaction to food, and 42 percent said their food allergy had caused at least one previous emergency department visit.
There are many hidden allergens that may be present in food that consumers may not be aware of. This can happen for a number of reasons, including when food products share the production line with allergen containing products. While food companies have allergen control within their factories, transferring allergen information along the supply chain can be overlooked as recent events have shown.
To combat this, Primority has developed a digital ledger based consumer-focused app, integrated with its 3iVerify platform, powered by IOTA. Using information collected on Primority’s 3iVerify cloud software, the data from food manufacturers is automatically shared on IOTA’s Tangle. Accessible by scanning the barcode on the food packaging itself, a digital twin of each food product is easily reviewed by the consumer and food factories alike.
How It Works
The digital twin contains the list of allergens identified in the specific product, together with its expiration date and method of verification. Once stored into the IOTA Tangle, this information becomes immutable and its integrity is guaranteed. For consumers, the collected information can be accessed from anywhere and by anybody via the AllerSafe app. This means that for products stored on the IOTA Tangle that consumers can have confidence in the allergen information.
Food manufacturers who use 3iVerify can send data from the platform to the IOTA ledger without the need to cover the costs of managing this infrastructure. For consumers, the app accesses the IOTA ledger and the information shared on it without owning any cryptocurrency or installing a wallet.
“The motivation for this App was driven by the tragic events that occurred in the last few years resulting in the needless deaths of several people who unsuspectingly consumed products containing deadly allergens. We wanted to show that solutions for this problem exist, are low cost and can be highly effective. We looked at traditional blockchain technology, but felt that IOTA’s next generation digital ledger was a perfect solution that we could build a truly global and scalable solution on,” said James Flynn, CTO of Primority.
“The solution is a non-competitive setup whereby the entire food industry can open up their databases on allergens directly to consumers - without sharing any sensitive information to competitors. It shows the power of a permissionless ledger and how it can drive an infrastructure serving the public good. We are very excited that Primority is driving this grand vision and are looking forward to engage the industry at large,” said Jens Munch, Head of Supply Chain and Global Trade, IOTA Foundation.