ITO Thailand Hygiene Blog

Oct 10 2022

Blockchain Technology and Traceability

            In previous blog, we have discussed about the outbreak cases caused by the lack of food hygiene standard, the importance of handwashing with regard to food safety, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), as well as a case study of AI technology to assess handwashing procedures in real-time.  This blog will continue to discuss the use of blockchain technology, how traceability could ensure the safety throughout the supply chain, and introduction to contactless solutions in the food business.

            Blockchain Technology

            As technology advances in recent years, the food business has become ‘smarter’ as we are able to track foods from farm to fork (the entire supply chain process). Manufacturers are aiming to improve the safety and quality of food by using technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) , Internet of Things (IoT)  and blockchain technology.

            Blockchain is a decentralised information record that is stored on a cloud-based, cryptographically secured network, also known as ‘blocks’, and accessibility of the information is available to anyone, not limited as the traditional centralised system which is restricted to a single party (Siemens, 2022). It has improved the availability of any relevant data, and these data are shared among related entities in real-time, to secure the safety and preferred quality of food products. Study has shown that blockchain has provided various beneficial features such as traceability and transparency, efficiency enhancement, security improvement, risk mitigation, as well as ensuring customer satisfaction (Siemens, 2022).

            Security (Traceability & Transparency)

            Traceability is the capacity to track and trace the journey, location history of products, parts, and materials (Agrawal et al., 2021; Tzoulis & Andreopoulou, 2013). In the food industry, traceability is used to track the journey of every raw material in a food product throughout the supply chain with the use of blockchain and machine learning (Mearian, 2019). Occasionally, there were foodborne outbreaks that are associated with poor hygiene management which may lead to illness and death of consumers, and these cases have been a major concern for food safety management. The best solution to be utilised when an outbreak occurs is traceability, because the investigation team is able to look back and inspect what went wrong, at which point, and at what time to stop the distribution of the problematic product in that particular production batch. Moreover, blockchain contributes to more transparency in the supply chain, which enables the evaluation of data to be more efficient, able to gain more customer trust and food fraud  alleviation. Major food companies like Nestlé (Food Processing Technology, 2019) and Starbucks (Warnick, 2020) are offering a transparent supply chain to develop customer confidence and trust, with the assistance from blockchain platforms. Starbucks lets consumers trace their coffee by entering the code found on the coffee bag, then coffee’s journey can be explored on their dedicated traceability webpage (Starbucks, 2022).

            Contactless Solution

            Innovative technologies are widely used in the food industry, especially the development of contactless solutions with robots, as they work faster, reduce contamination risk from adulteration, reduce labour cost, and quality consistency can be achieved. In Thailand, Tao Bin vending machine has recently gained public attention as a smart barista robot, which can create up to 170 beverages, and the taste is great, affordable price, along with superior convenience and fun user experience, it has obtained positive feedbacks from Thais (Jitpleecheep, 2022). In Canada, Dark Horse Espresso Bar and RC Coffee have launched a robotic espresso bar as well (RC Coffee, 2020). These fully automated baristas in Thailand and Canada are serving high quality coffees, and human assistance is not required. 

            Another example is ‘Sally machine’, a robotic saladmaker from Saladworks, is offering a freshly made salad to consumers. Unsurprisingly, they prefer this over a traditional salad bar which is disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic (Maras, 2020) because salad bars could be exposed to ambient air and are at risk of contaminated with undesirable contaminants (Physical, chemical, biological, and allergen contaminations).

            In food factories, AI-3D cameras for hand washing monitoring and assessment system have been utilised for contamination reduction prior to entering the production area. AI can learn appropriate hand washing procedures with a deep learning system, 3D camera, and determine whether each worker (who is identified with a face recognition system) is washing their hands according to the standard or not. Moreover, the application of cloud system to roller timer has ameliorated food safety as it can be managed through IoT application, and supervisors are able to check for usage data in real-time and perform the best hygiene management in food factories.

            It can be concluded that the food industry has heavily relied on the use of blockchain technology as it offers a more efficient food safety management system along with traceability and transparency because it benefits every entity involved in the supply chain. It is important to ensure the highest food safety standard, as consumers have the right to feel safe when they consume any food products.


Agrawal, T. K., Kumar, V., Pal, R., Wang, L., & Chen, Y. (2021, April). Blockchain-based framework for supply chain traceability: A case example of textile and clothing industry. Computers &Amp; Industrial Engineering, 154, 107130.

Food Processing Technology. (2019). Nestlé collaborates with OpenSC to offer supply chain transparency. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from

Jitpleecheep, P. (2022). Vending machines the way forward. Https://Www.Bangkokpost.Com. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from

Maras, E. (2020). Fast casual chain pins growth on robotic salad vending machine. Vending Times. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from

Mearian, L. (2019). FDA to pilot A.I., consider blockchain, to track and trace food. Computerworld. Retrieved September 5, 2022, from

RC Coffee. (2020). RC Coffee Launches Canada’s First Robo Café. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from

Siemens. (2022). What Are the Benefits of Using Blockchain in Your Food and Beverage Supply Chain? Food Industry Executive. Retrieved September 5, 2022, from

Starbucks. (2022). Trace your coffee’s journey. Starbucks Traceability. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from

Tzoulis, I., & Andreopoulou, Z. (2013). Emerging Traceability Technologies as a Tool for Quality Wood Trade. Procedia Technology, 8, 606–611.

Warnick, J. (2020). Introducing the next generation of Starbucks coffee art. Starbucks Stories. Retrieved September 6, 2022, from

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