China crab producers trial blockchain

Published on
November 12, 2018

A representative body for the lucrative mitten crab trade in China has introduced blockchain technology to counter firms illicitly using the appellation for the lucrative Yangcheng Lake crabs, which are classified under China’s Geographical Indicator (GI) mark.

The technology was devised by the government-run Suzhou Quality Inspection Bureau and the Inspur Group, a local IT firm. Also involved in the pilot project is the State Development and Investment Corp Ltd (SDIC), a major state-owned investment holding company with investments in the crab industry. 

A tag on individual crabs and packaging identification allows the crabs to be traced by the Suzhou-based project piloting the new technology. The tags will be distributed by a local government quality inspectorate which is involved in the pilot program. 

“Consumers can now be assured…all they have to do is to scan the tag or the code on the packaging,” according to a statement from the Yangcheng Crab Producers Association, the body representing producers of China’s most prestigious freshwater crab.

Counterfeiting has become a mounting problem for the Yangcheng Crab Producers Association. Last year, a crab store was forced to pay CNY 1 million (USD 144,000, EUR 126,800) for using the Yangcheng name without permission.

In 2012, Sun Pishu, head of the Inspur Group and a legislator at the annual meeting of China’s parliament, promised that by 2015, China would put in place a national electronic food safety tracking system based on wireless technology. The system, as outlined by Sun, would have compelled producers to put bar codes on products tracking information on product origin, as well as date of production and producers’ details. That system is still not in place.

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