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Digital blockchain technology used for the first time

American consumers will be able to trace their Thanksgiving turkeys to the farm of origin thanks to the use of blockchain technology, which is being used in the turkey sector for the first time.

Cargill is enabling consumers buying their Honeysuckle White brand in selected markets to text or enter an on-package code at the brand’s website to access the farm’s location by state and county.

They will be able to read about the family farm story, see photos from the farm and read a message from the farmer as they prepare for Thanksgiving Dinner on 23 November.

Deborah Socha, Honeysuckle White brand manager, said the use of the technology was ideal as the brand was the only one to exclusively provide family farm-raised turkey.

“We know consumers are looking beyond farm-to-table marketing promises to better understand where their food comes from and how it is produced. That’s why the brand is the first and only major turkey brand to pilot a blockchain-based solution for traceable turkey.”

Blockchain models build a trusted, transparent food chain that integrate key stakeholders into the supply chain and create a distributed ledger with immutable records. All participants inside the blockchain network have to agree before a new record is added to the ledger, which means that the technology also reduced the risk of fraud or human error.

Cryptography within the network ensures security, authentication and integrity of transactions.

Family farmer Darrell Glaser, of Milam County, Texas, said he was honoured to be asked to be one of the first farmers to make it possible for families to trace their birds back to his farm.

“Everyone deserves to know more about the food they’re eating, and I like feeling more connected to the people I’m raising these turkeys for. It’s important for me that consumers understand the care my family puts in every day to provide quality turkeys for families across the country.”

Consumers in the United States are increasingly keen to have farm to table transparency. In 2014, the brand found that 44% of turkey consumers felt it was important for companies to be transparent in their practices. Within two years, this figure has risen 73%.

Deb Bauler, Cargill chief information officer for North American protein, said the transparency pilot was one example of how the company was using technology to shape the food system of the future and deliver on consumers’ desire for transparency in food.

More information on the project can be found at www.HoneysuckleWhite.com

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