Protection of Made in Italy: control certificates and tracking of food origin
The Lombardy Region kicks off a new experimentation that involves Blockchain technology to trace and control supply chains of beef and dairy products in the effort to safeguard consumers.
Product labelling makes it possible to trace on a decentralised and distributed system the “history” of the controls performed by the Public Administration on supply chains of beef and dairy products, providing immediate visibility and ensuring protection of consumers. As a result, it will allow the citizens of Lombardy to have access to all supply chain details, including the movements of every single head or lot of cattle and the health inspections provided by law for products of animal origin. Technology will thus play an essential role in the protection of Made Italy against fraud and falsification.
"Lombardy, leading the way"
At the conference for the presentation held in Lonato del Garda at Savoldi Carni, speakers included Fabrizio Sala, Vice President of the Lombardy Region and Councillor for Research, Innovation, University, Export and Internationalization; Fabio Rolfi, Councillor for Agriculture, Food and Green Systems of the Lombardy Region; Francesco Ferri, President of ARIA S.p.a.; Primo Cortelazzi, President of the Lombardy Consortium of Beef Producers; Marco Deghi, General Manager of the Latteria Sociale Valtellina and Angelo Monti of the Veterinary Unit of the Directorate General of Welfare of the Lombardy Region.
“After the enormous success with the experimentation that allowed citizens to access the Free Day Nursery programme,” commented President of the Lombardy Region Attilio Fontana, “Blockchain becomes a big focus in the policies of the Lombardy Region. In this case, we are seeing the direct involvement of companies in a subject – agro-food traceability – that holds special importance. This action is designed to safeguard Italian products, particularly those “Made in Lombardy” and to protect the safety of consumers.” In conclusion, he stated “In this example, too, I am certain that our Region will lay the foundation for a winning model useful for the whole country.”
“What has been activated in the Lombardy Region,” explained Vice President of the Lombardy Region Fabrizio Sala, “is a unique experimentation in Italy and Europe promoted by a public administration. We will have the ability to certify the entire record of the food product, from birth to slaughter, including health attestations. This responds to a demand for transparency and greater knowledge expressed by 71% of European consumers.” Added Sala, “This is a major breakthrough that has reaped excellent results with the first experimentation applied to the recently concluded “Free Day Nursery” programme. We managed to eliminate 90% of the bureaucracy, in the process saving 3,500 hours of administrative work. In this case, too, we are expecting an excellent service marked by transparency and simplification for our citizens, a service we aim to extend to the entire territory of the Region.”
App and QRcode
The decision was also undertaken for Aria to develop a Web application on an experimental basis that collects data and certified information on the history of the food products from several data banks, and that uses a blockchain to record the acquired information in a way that cannot be changed. This will give the consumer evidence of the food product’s history, including the sanitary-health controls and composition of the lots by simply scanning the QRcode printed on the product.
“Lombardy’s agriculture is the most advanced and innovative in Europe; it takes into account the welfare of the animal, food safety and the traceability of the origin of the products,” added Fabio Rolfi, Councillor for Agriculture, Food and Green Systems of the Lombardy Region. “Milk and meat are the basis of nutrition; providing total transparency to the consumer along the whole supply chain is a guarantee of quality. We are the leading agricultural region of Italy also thanks to initiatives such as this, which can optimally position our products on the market. In the agricultural sector, innovation means sustainability, both from an economic and environmental perspective. To that end, we will continue to invest in research and new technologies in the primary sector.”
The two supply chains and entities involved
The experimentation is led by the Directorate General for Research and Innovation in collaboration with the Directorate General for Agriculture, Food and Green Systems and that for Welfare of the Lombardy Region. Through the collaboration with ATS (Agency for the Protection of Health) of the Mountains and Po Valley two supply chains were singled out and actively involved: one, the “Latte Fresco di Montagna Alta Qualità della Latteria Sociale Valtellina” (with a volume of treated milk of over33.2 million litres per year and a fully computerized process of collection and distribution); the other, the beef of the Lombardy Consortium of Beef Producers (421 partners across several regions, for a total of 491 breeding farms and a livestock population of 100,000-110,000 cattle).
“The start of this experimentation marks a fundamental step towards the efficiency, transparency and sustainability of the system: the55,000 reports in the veterinary sector that theLombardy ATS compile each year after inspections will be completely virtualised,” commented Giulio Gallera, Councillor for Welfare of the Lombardy Region. “The results of controls will automatically go to update the regional archive and the company registration files of the individual companies.”
Innovation in support of quality
When at the points of sales or butcher shops participating in the experimentation, consumers can explore the whole story of the product tracked on Blockchain, with specific reference to the controls and checks performed by the Lombardy Region and by local health authorities designed to protect our health and the welfare of the animal.
Consumers need only to scan the QRCode with their smartphones and open the Web application containing the information via the link that automatically appears on the screen. “Aria is increasingly a driver of innovation for the Lombardy Region in those instances where citizens and companies have access to the Public Administration,” added Francesco Ferri, President of ARIA Spa.