Partnership tackles food fraud on international level

Belfast-based Arc-net has entered into a partnership that aims to fight food fraud by utlising innovation and technologies. 

The supply chain and traceability company will act as the technology partner for the leading international food safety project, EU-China-Safe.

The multi-million pound scheme is being led by the Queen’s University Belfast Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).

Food fraud is a recurring problem within the meat industry. In 2013, the notorious horsemeat scandal dominated headlines, and there have been several incidents since of a cheaper meat being disguised as something more expensive.

Key players in the food industry, research organisations and governments across Europe and China will play an active role in combating the problem. Arc-net’s responsibility will be to provide a technology platform for the project. Its Blockchain platform uses a database that allows consumers to make a trusted and informed decision when purchasing products from suppliers.

“Arc-net is delighted to be selected as the official technology partner in such a ground-breaking and transformative project,” said Kieran Kelly, the company’s CEO. “Arc-net’s mission has always been to ensure the health of current and future generations by providing access to safe and authentic food and we see this project as a vital step in achieving this goal. The use of innovative technologies will result in the creation of a fully transparent supply chain network which will become the foundation for a trusted digital community.”

The project aims to reduce fraud and improve safety by emphasising traceability, authenticity and by improving food legislation, food inspection and increased access to information from both continents, and is being jointly funded by the European Horizon 2020 programme and MOST, which has awarded the inter-continental partnership €10 million towards achieving its goals.

“We are delighted that the Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) at Queen’s University Belfast will lead this global project,” added Professor Elliot, the project’s coordinator. “Working together with Arc-net and key stakeholders in the global food system will help to address the importance of food traceability and security across two of the world’s largest trading markets.”

A report released this year by audit, tax and advisory firm Crowe Clark Whitehall and the University of Portsmouth’s Centre for Counter Fraud Studies indicated that some of the FTSE-listed food and drink businesses have the capability of doubling their profits by reducing food loss.

Professor Yongning Wu, chief scientist from the China National Centre for Food Safety Risk Assessment and coordinator of the Chinese side of the project, said: “The EU-China-Safe partnership between our two trading regions is of immense importance to help deliver safe and genuine food to all citizens.

“Working together across the EU and China will enable us to identify where food fraud is happening, address the root causes and thereby enable us to improve food safety standards for all our citizens.”

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