Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) is partnering with IBM, FXA Group, and the Communications Authority of Thailand (CAT) to implement a global traceability program, allowing the country’s exports to be tracked from the retail level all the way back to the farm.
The pilot program, which will only apply to processed chicken and mangoes destined for export, will use smart sensor technology and traceability software to allow “all participants in the food chain” to access information on the products, including farm of origin, date of harvest, and temperature during shipping.
Last week, the initiative invited 600 farmers and food producers to use the new food-tracing software.
“As one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of livestock and agricultural products, we must improve our food safety standards to meet, or even exceed the global market’s requirement,” said Theera Wongsamut, Thailand’s Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives in an statement emailed to Food Safety News.
“We have chosen to deploy smart solutions that will provide our agricultural and livestock exporters the ability to ensure that every process involving their products is transparent for importers and consumers alike,” said Wongsamut. “We are strongly confident that the new system developed by IBM, FXA and CAT will enhance our products’ quality and increase our exporters’ competitiveness in the international food industry.”
According to IBM, the traceability system will have a direct public health benefit.
“This is a significant step in ensuring the safety of consumers around the world, because there is no quick or easy way for retailers and governments to determine where a contaminated product came from,” said the company in a statement. With the new technology, if a consumer is sickened by a processed chicken or mango from Thailand, “retailers and authorities can immediately pinpoint the exact farm on which the tainted food was grown on and quickly arrange a targeted recall to minimize the number of people affected.”
The system is also expected to be good for Thai food producers. According to Bangkok’s The Nation, officials believe farmers and retailers should be able to obtain 5-10 percent more revenue as a result of greater consumer confidence.