Fighting food fraud from farm to fork with a mobile ingredient tracing system
Researchers at the University of Tokyo with collaborators at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) have designed a mobile-based traceability system to trace food from farm to fork. A prototype app proposed by the researchers could provide full transparency from farm to table along food supply chains and meet the needs of smallholder farmers, boutique producers, and industrial growers. The researchers see it as a measure to prevent food fraud. The research team’s food tracking system begins with the harvest of any ingredient, for example, rice on a family farm. The farmer opens the app on a mobile phone, enters details about the amount and type of rice, then creates and prints a QR code to attach to the bags of rice. A truck driver then scans the QR code and enters details into the app about where, when, and how the rice was transported to the market. A market vendor buys the rice, scans the QR code to register that the rice is now in their possession, and enters details about where and how the rice is stored before resale. Eventually, the vendor might sell some rice directly to consumers or other manufacturers who can scan the QR code and know where the rice originated.