CHICAGO — As more food safety disruptors come into play and the meaning of the word “food safety” evolves with consumer perception and regulations, keeping track of ingredients is of utmost importance. During the session “Food Safety Disruptors – Emerging Technologies and the Baking Industry” at the American Society of Baking’s BakingTech in Chicago Feb. 24-26, Robert Burgh, president, Nexcor Food Safety Technologies, discussed the future of blockchain and its ability to help hold departments and companies accountable for food safety.
Blockchain is used to trace distinct batches of ingredients as they move through the production process. Mr. Burgh said the information blockchain records can’t be updated after it’s been inputted.
He sees this technology being used more and more in the seafood industry.
“The idea is they catch a fish, they put a radio frequency identification tag on each fish, and they can track each fish all the way up until it gets in a can,” Mr. Burgh explained. “With tuna fish, you’ve got fish and water or fish and oil, so it’s really easy to know which fish came off of which boat and was it legal and ethical.”
Bakery products, on the other hand, are not as easy. Ingredients come from various farms and are moved to various grain elevators where they’re mixed. After that, they go to a processing mill then to a silo where they can also be mixed.
“We have bulk ingredients, minor and macro ingredients,” Mr. Burgh said. “Which particular lot from which particular farm did that wheat come from?”
Blockchain is slowly being adjusted to the baking industry, and planning for lot breaks and discovering how to separate one lot from another is one step in the right direction for securing this method.
“Before we use blockchain effectively in a bakery, we have to overcome the process control in a bakery,” Mr. Burgh said. “Will we get there? Yes, we will.”