Cloud technology could fight horse meat-type food fraud issues by enhancing traceability, according to specialists in the field JDA.
John Bailey, vice president, solutions consulting at the firm told FoodProductionDaily.com data huge quantities of ingredient data from individual product barcodes could be stored securely in the cloud without overly relying on servers. "It makes it instantly available, nobody needs to think about who's running the servers."
The technology meant 100% traceability was possible, Michelle Campbell, JDA, industry director, supply chain execution, told this site. "Yes, it can be achieved. The question is more about who's going to enforce it. Complexity is really only about scale. These days you can scale up the supply chain."
However, there were challenges. Storage of such information required detailed data analysis and people to do this, she said.
Economics of the supply chain
Another problem was that the economics of the supply chain meant retailers, manufacturers and suppliers were biased towards driving down margins, said Bailey.
Campbell and Bailey proposed a system whereby an objective third party with consumers' interests at heart such as the Food Standards Agency could police the data stream.
"...Who is responsible for data analysis on it and then saying 'data is missing here'?" asked Bailey. "That comes back to the FSA (Food Standards Agency). They are the ones who need to have the overall picture. The retailer might be too biased."
That said, retailers could be responsible for rolling out such a system across the whole food and drink supply chain, he added.
Who would pay
But a question remained about who would pay for this programme, said Bailey. "Maybe what you do is every time you are entering batch numbers you are paying by usage," he said.
Campbell and Bailey also suggested the level of regulation that applied to the pharmacy industry enforcing positive approval and traceability could also apply to the food industry, guaranteeing total knowledge of all ingredients present.
JDA provided a range of cloud-based software, systems and consulting services, said Bailey.