IBM is working on a proof-of-concept based on blockchain technology that will help the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to modernize its food export certification process.

An FSIS spokesperson has confirmed to a crypto media outlet Coindesk the $269,450 feasibility assessment that will make food export certification more transparent and tamperproof. The underlying blockchain technology utilizes an ‘immutable’ ledger.

This is the first time that FSIS, which falls under the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), is using blockchain technology. The proof-of-concept is a part of the FSIS 2020 Annual Plan, which states, “FSIS will develop a proof of concept for blockchain management as a potential mechanism for addressing export certification challenges and identifying greater efficiencies in the export certification process.”

Food Safety and Inspection Service is responsible for both export and import of meat, poultry, or egg products. Exports to other countries are governed by complex procedures requiring multi-country documentation. FSIS inspectors have to sample exported products from shipping containers as well as verify documents and stamps etc. An inspector training manual lays down the guidelines for this process and is matched with a digital paper trail, both of which accompany exported products. It is this process that FSIS wants to modernize using blockchain.

According to the FSIS spokesperson, IBM was provided with a non-descript blockchain proof of concept contract worth $ 270,000 in August 2019. This contract runs through June 2020. FSIS would be able to identify and explore the benefits if any of blockchain so that it can make informed decisions in the future about how to modernize its processes.