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Abstract

Food fraud is an age long challenge motivated by economic reasons. It is defined as the intentional substitution, addition, tampering and misrepresentation of food, food ingredients or food packaging for economic gain . Research has shown that food fraud costs at least $65 billion globally . Food experts tagged 2018 as the year of food fraud and fraud prevention strategies due to the shocking amounts and forms witnessed. Some of these included fake cherries, counterfeit honey, fake (plastic) rice, counterfeit wine, fake fish, etc. To combat counterfeiting, various certification programmes have been launched. However, counterfeit labelling which is the act of claiming certifications which have not been obtained by food producers on product packaging have ensued and become popular in developing countries. This new challenge has increased the need for a food safety verification system that enables prospective consumers to verify the authenticity of food products as quickly and as convenient as possible. In 2008, blockchain technology made its public debut and in just over a decade, it has shown potential for usefulness in every sector, including agriculture. It gained public trust and wide acceptance because they are distributed, utilizes cryptography, is open and has timestamps on every data recorded. Due to the combination of these features, it is considered unique and the most secure data framework for big data. Given the features of the blockchain system listed above, it is considered a more effective tool for food authenticity verification. The combination of serialization and blockchain will certainly proffer a fast and effective solution to counterfeit labelling issues in the global food industry, but this is also dependent on its level of adoption. A review of literature and industry articles revealed that a lot of attempts are being made in the use of blockchain for value chain traceability, farmer positioning, logistics, entering new markets and transaction costs. Most of these tools are utilized by most actors in the value chain but the consumer. Very little has been done in creating consumer centered verification tools using blockchain and this is a huge gap. This poster presentation intends to highlight the features and possible ways blockchain can equip consumers in developing countries with tools to verify the safety of food reliably and timely.

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