Carrefour to enable milk traceability using blockchain

French retail group Carrefour is using blockchain technology to enable consumers to trace information about the source of its milk products.

Starting this month, the retailer said it is going to gradually start selling Carrefour Quality Line (CQL) fresh micro-filtered full-fat milk with QR codes on the packaging which can be scanned to access an array of product provenance information.

This CQL product is made at Gillot dairy using animals from within a radius of 30km of the site and cows fed on non genetically modified feeds, and which are reared on farms meeting animal welfare standards for space.

Consumers using the new technology will be able to see the GPS coordinates of farmers whose animals’ milk was collected, gain information about the cows' feeds depending on the season, and find out exactly when the milk was collected and where it was packaged.

They will also be able to use blockchain technology to identify the various stakeholders involved in the whole product line, including their names and photographs, and find out about what they do and their livestock rearing practices. Additional information – including whether they use microfiltration to store the milk, and what quality checks they conduct throughout the production process – will be available.

Consumers who scan the QR code on the packaging with their smartphones will then access an interface which contains all this data. The idea behind the initiative is for people to gain a better understanding of the route each product has to reach the supermarket shelves.

The milk blockchain initiative follows Carrefour’s similar use of the technology alongside other products, including Auvergne chicken and farmhouse fattened chicken, tomatoes, and eggs, as well as Carrefour Quality Line oranges.

Last year, Carrefour committed to understanding and using blockchain technology alongside a range of businesses by helping create the IBM Food Trust platform.

The objective of the collaboration is to implement a global food traceability standard across all of the links in the food supply chain – from producers through to sales channels.