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China: Facial recognition for chickens

Chinese insurance tech company ZhongAn is developing facial recognition to track premium organically farmed chicken.

The “GoGo Chicken” venture will include monitoring the bird’s movement in real-time through GPS tracking bracelets attached to their legs.

It is designed to encourage healthy city dwellers to tap into the growth of China’s farm-based rural tourism movement, which has led to thousands of urban dwellers descending on rural communities to get a greater knowledge of the provenance of their food.

There have also been concerns about food safety, particularly following the 2014 crisis in which a supplier for McDonald’s and KFC was caught selling rotting and expired meats to fast-food chains.

GoGo Chicken enables a larger number of China’s burgeoning middle class to be able to see their birds through a smartphone rather than travelling large distances.

The Shanghai-based company currently has 100,000 birds fitted with the technology but plans to incorporate about 23 million birds into the project over the next three years, according to the South China Morning Post.

The organic chickens being monitored are slow-growing, being finished at four to six months. The tracking will enable consumers to see what the birds are eating.

Chen Wei, ZhongAn Tech chief executive officer, said: “When you shop and see raw chicken from us, you can simply check on your smartphone app to know its birthplace, what food it ate and how many steps it walked during its life.”

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