Blockchain which “Flows Into” Milk Establishes New Green Ecology of Dairy Industry
Milk has become an indispensable healthy drink in every Chinese family or even in families all over the world. Fresh milk, milk power and various dairy products have formed an enormous dairy industrial empire together.
As early as year 2008, SanLu Group Co., Ltd, a giant enterprise of dairy industry at that time was reported to have detected melamine in its milk powder products, and the news shocked all Chinese citizens for a moment. After more than 10 years, followed by the increase of people’s living standard, food safety issues have gradually been emphasized, while for milk which is a mandatory drink to all family members, consumers will have higher demand on it.
Nowadays, consumers will no longer satisfy on confirming milk quality by merely relying on promotional information provided by the retailers, number of people who wishes to make own judgment via clear full-process information starting from dairy production to sales has increased. To achieve this, reformation of the whole industrial chain in dairy industry is required in order to continuously move towards digitization, intellectualization and transparency, strengthen customer’ trust and optimize ecological structure of the whole industry.
01 Dairy Products is Hard to Be “Safe”
Currently, as social economic development and people’s consumption level gradually increase, for the health of children and family members, many families prefer to purchase some expensive and imported international milk powder brands, because they believe that milk powder consumed will be more assured and safer.
However, they are unaware that the entering process of many imported milk powders into domestic market does not follow the regular standard. Especially after going through layer upon layer of overseas online shopping agents, phenomenon where client’s valuable item is substituted by other item often occurs, hence in the end consumers pay for a huge cost but instead they receive a counterfeit good.
Despite that brand manufacturers will normally label the anti-counterfeiting code on the outer packaging of milk powder to prove their “innocence”, buyer will never be smarter than seller. In actual, many agents will often “change powder without changing the tin” which results in case where the content of imported milk powder is different from the outer packaging. Therefore, it is impossible for us to judge whether this tin of milk powder has been substituted barely via the information written on the outer packaging of milk powder tin.
Previously, China Central Television (CCTV) had reported news about counterfeit imported milk powder before, thus this also exposes some illegal activities in the industry: seller will import foreign milk powder to China and mix with poor quality or cheap milk powder before repackaging and exporting to Australia. Eventually, the milk powder available in Australia will be purchased by the online overseas shoppers.
Furthermore, under the phenomenon where many parents follow blindly in purchasing foreign milk powder from agent, these parents have neglected an important problem: the production standard of dairy products in every country is different. For instance, China has clear and specified label regarding the iodine content in milk powder, but not every country has the same regulation as us, hence it is possible that China’s infant may induce risk of iodine deficiency as a result of consuming foreign milk powder.
Except for problems in terms of milk powder import, dilemma of milk supply also continuously being reported. According to news from American Broadcasting Company (ABC), during the COVID-19 pandemic, milk surplus phenomenon occurred in the United States caused dairy farmers at Wisconsin state had no choice but to dump more than 100,000 gallons of milk. However, at the same time, residents from many places in United States were worried that they had no milk to drink. This not only occurred in United States, but also in many countries such as United Kingdom, Japan and India in which “milk dumping trend” emerged.
Moreover, raw dairy products often found out to have contained excessive mould and Staphylococcus aureus, thus person who drinks the milk will result in serious health risk if he or she is infected by these microorganisms. However, even though recent Salmonella Rapid Detection Techniques normally requires more than 24 hours to get the test results too, but as raw milk only has 24–36 hours of expiration term, so consumers have already drunk the contaminated milk when results found out that there is something wrong in the milk.
Besides that, as dairy products are in liquid form, hence manufacturers cannot install tracing information collection device such as sensor, rapid testing technique and so on in the milk, and this has made even harder for consumers to trace and track the overall sales flow and transaction flow of dairy products. In addition, strong effectiveness of raw milk also makes regulatory department hard to track the key effective “proof” data when they intervene after the incident.
02 Blockchain Constructs New Ecology of Dairy Products
For dairy product industry, ensuring transparency and traceability of food supply chain is the key to obtain trust from consumers. Therefore, decentralized blockchain technology plays an important part in dairy product industry.
01 Milk Traceability Ensures Safety
As blockchain technology possesses tamper-proof, traceability and decentralized characteristics, it can trace back and locate every traceability point in real time in order to target the subject of liability. Meanwhile, blockchain even can prevent emergence of illegal operational behaviour when safety incident truly happens or when traceability is required in future.
Furthermore, blockchain also can “connect” all participants during dairy production process and break information island. From source to production and then to sales, information of dairy product in each phase will all be recorded in blockchain network. Via blockchain’s tamper-proof characteristic, it ensures that information inquired by consumer is real and reliable. At the same time, due to open process and sharing of ledger information, every participant will be monitored by every phase in the overall food supply chain, thus transparency of blockchain technology makes brand and consumers establish complete mutual trust relationship.
Although dairy product has complex production and circulation phase, end consumer can “see” every status of dairy products during factory production and circulation phase. Moreover, just because blockchain records the whole production and circulation process of dairy product trustily, hence this not only reduces traceability duration of product, but also can be applied on product recall, product expiration term management, transportation management and so on. Once food safety emergency happens, blockchain also can find where the problem lies accurately and immediately provide the solutions.
02 Increase Transparency of Dairy Industrial Supply Chain
Under the empowerment of blockchain, information such as complete file of dairy cow, trading between dairy farmer and dealer, milk transportation process and etc. will all be stored in blockchain. This is to achieve tracking management starting from dairy cow breeding, milking, fresh milk transportation until goods successfully received by enterprise and record product quality information of every phase in detailed in order to form a smart, safe and sustainable file system. Thus, all types of quantified data and circulation data can be clearly seen by the public. When consumers enter the supermarket, they can directly see all commodity information included in blockchain by scanning the QR code on the packaging of dairy product.
On the other hand, for imported milk powder, blockchain traceability can store full link information starting from dairy farm and phases like factory, overseas warehouse, international trunk route, domestic bonded warehouse, trading, transportation, etc., until received by consumers ultimately. In blockchain, normally every blockchain embeds information such as hash code of previous block, timestamp, delivery data and so on, therefore once recorded, all data in the block will not be tampered after that. If you wish to modify, you must alter all front blocks in the chain at the same time, and this requires majority participants in the network to acknowledge and accept the modified results. Hence, it is very difficult to carry out data fraud and mix fake goods in blockchain.
03 Improve Monitoring, Strengthen System
For dairy product industry, tamper-proof data means that product is traceable, and this shows that monitoring system and examination system of dairy product industry may bring dramatic changes in future.
In the past, examination of regulatory bodies on milk powder normally includes country of origin testing, milk powder formula testing, market product sample testing and so on. However, as everyone knows, during the process of “human governance”, criminals can still find various loopholes to exploit or challenge the edge of law, for example place of origin counterfeiting, exaggerated propaganda on milk powder formula and etc. Although many illegal manufacturers have received penalty because of that, there are many people who are still interrupting the healthy development of dairy industry without receiving any punishment.
Therefore, when blockchain is applied in dairy industry, every data produced by dairy products during production, manufacturing, transaction and sales phases will all be issued on chain so that fake information will not exist. Once consumer or regulatory bodies discover problems in certain dairy product, they can immediately trace via blockchain platform and check which phase occur problem in order to make monitoring more transparent and easier to be held accountable. For instance, place of origin of certain milk powder brand labels a grassland in Ordos, but after monitoring, the milk powder was found out that it was not produced in the labelled location based on the data of the production place of milk powder. Hence, this tin of milk powder and products in the same batch will all be recalled by the manufacturers.
Dairy products are inseparable with everyone’s life, from nutritious milk, delicious and sweet ice cream, irresistible desserts to sweet and sour yoghurt, these products have integrated into daily diet of Chinese people. However, as economy continues to develop, under the influence of several reasons such as changes in consumers’ habit, moving of consumption scenarios and so on, dairy product industry also faces many difficulties and challenges, thus innovation and upgrade are highly needed.
As the blockchain innovator, Vonechain Technology thinks that, being an important component of digital economy’s underlying layer technology, trustworthy foundation in which blockchain relies on has gradually strengthened, information environment faced has continuously improved, while self-efficiency and safety have gradually increased. In future, under multiple facilitation in terms of policy, capital and market, blockchain technology will serve as an essential support in high quality and green development of dairy product industry.
Blockchain traceability platform VoneTracer which self-researched and developed by Vonechain Technology can achieve “One Device, One Code” real traceability, make everyone become the supervisor and make counterfeit and shoddy products nowhere to hide. VoneTracer empowers dairy product traceability, optimizes consumption environment of dairy products, increases industrial transparency and facilitates dairy products to be more credible, leading and transparent in order to help establishing the whole social credit system.