Chinese e-commerce company JD.com announced today that it will be using the blockchain to track beef with an Australian exporter.

In an announcement, JD.com has entered into a new partnership with InterAgri, an exporter of Australian meat products to bring pure Angus beef meat to China for the first time. The two are working on a blockchain-enabled traceability system that aims to give greater confidence to consumers as to where their beef is coming from. It’s expected that the technology will be implemented this spring.

Commenting on the partnership, Chen Zhang, JD.com’s CTO, said:

We’re increasingly implementing blockchain-enabled traceability solutions to give consumers confidence that they are buying safe, reliable products for their families. Consumers in China don’t just want quality imported products, they want to know that they can trust how and where their food is sourced, and blockchain helps us deliver this peace of mind.

The pure Angus beef products are sourced from HW Greenham & Sons Pty Ltd (Greenham), a sixth-generation Australian business. They are reported to export the highest quality, sought-after Australian meat from cattle grown in south eastern Australia, namely Victoria, Tasmania, and the south eastern corner of South Australia.

When the technology has been put into place consumers will be able to track each piece of the beef right from where it originated. They will also have access to a wide range of information, including details of animals, such as where and how the animal was raised, and how the meat was processed and transported.

This news comes at a time when Chinese consumers are calling for more premium-quality imports into the country. According to Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), China imported $737.3 million of Australian beef in 2016; however, it’s expected that this demand is set to continue. Notably, the MLA estimates that in 2020 the nation will eat 82.2 million tonnes of beef. This is compared to 74 million tonnes that is expected in 2018.

Adrian McCorkell, Director of InterAgri, said:

The demand for premium Australian beef in China has exploded over the last few years, but we are still just scratching the surface of the addressable market.

JD.com also helped form the Blockchain Food Safety Alliance along with Walmart, IBM, and Tsinghua University. They are seeking to pilot the technology to bring greater transparency to the food supply chain in China.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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