Agribusiness

Tracing food exports from paddock to plate

Australia Post is pleased to participate in an initiative with the world’s biggest eCommerce company Alibaba and leading natural health company Blackmores to combat the rise of counterfeit food being sold across China.

Professional services firm PwC is an adviser to the project.

The initiative will increase the traceability of food products, reducing the risk of fraud and ensuring Australia remains a trusted exporter of high quality food.

Australia Post Executive General Manager Parcels and StarTrack CEO, Bob Black, said the project would help guarantee genuine products arrive safely into the hands of Chinese consumers.

“We are delighted Alibaba has invited us to create an innovative platform, which will track food from paddock to plate, strengthening the supply chain,” Mr Black said.

“The initiative will leverage our secure, reliable and fast service to support the authentication of Australian products bound for the Chinese market. Our food producers have a global reputation as being a clean, green and safe provider of food and we are pleased to help deliver a solution to enhance the integrity of their produce.”

The project will explore new technologies, including blockchain technology – a decentralised and highly available database – which could obtain crucial details from suppliers about where and how their food was grown and map its journey across the supply chain. The technology has the potential to enable up-to-date audits, increasing transparency between producers and consumers.

Food fraud is known to be one of the biggest issues facing the global food industry, considering the potential health risks associated with adulteration and loss of trust from consumers and governments. In recent years counterfeiters have targeted popular Australian products such as health supplements, beer and wine, honey and cherries.

Australia Post’s relationship with Alibaba has already enabled Australian businesses to sell their products across Alibaba’s key platforms since 2014, including Tmall Global, Taobao Global and 1688.com.

The latest partnership comes after Australia Post and Alibaba signed an agreement to extend Australia Post online storefronts beyond China to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. The storefronts will operate on South-East Asia’s leading eCommerce network Lazada, which Alibaba has a majority stake, creating a powerful online platform for Australian businesses to sell products to the millions of consumers across the region.

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