Alibaba tackles food fraud

For fresh produce marketing in Australia and New Zealand
Matthew Jones



Alibaba tackles food fraud

E-commerce giant unveils Food Trust Framework alongside PwC to curb counterfeit produce

Alibaba tackles food fraud

Australian Minister for trade, tourism and investment, Steve Ciobo, witnesses the signing of an agreement that will build trust in food supply chains using blockchain technologies

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Alibaba Australia has moved to build better trust in its supply chain of food products.

The company, a member of Chinese-based e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, has announced it will work with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) firms in Australia, New Zealand and China to develop the Food Trust Framework, which aims to address the risk of food fraud.

To solidify the partnership, PwC today (24 March) entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Alibaba Australia in Canberra. The agreement also includes Blackmores and Australia Post.

The Food Trust Framework project will look at ways of enhancing traceability models and introducing new technologies to mitigate the risk of counterfeit and fraudulent food products. This will include the development of a pilot blockchain technologies solution model for vendors.

Maggie Zhou, managing director of Alibaba Group Australia and New Zealand, said blockchain technologies are designed to authenticate, verify, permanently record and provide ongoing reporting in relation to the transfer of ownership and providence of goods.

“Food fraud is a serious global issue that not only costs the food industry billions every year, but puts consumers’ health at risk,” Zhou explained. “The signing of today’s agreement is the first step in creating a globally respected framework that protects the reputation of food merchants and gives consumers further confidence to purchase food online."

It is envisaged that this framework will be piloted in Australia and form the basis of a global supply chain model that can be applied across all of Alibaba Group’s e-commerce markets.

“Given Australia and New Zealand’s exemplary regulatory environments, along with being home to some of the world’s most successful food and beverage exporters, it was a natural decision to pilot the program here,” Zhou added. “We see the Australian and New Zealand markets setting the tone for the rest of the world when it comes to integrity, safety and quality of food supply chains.”

Blackmores and Australia Post will be involved in the project by providing information and in-market testing across their respective supply chains.

“Australia Post and StarTrack’s fast, secure and reliable logistics framework will support this innovative program to safeguard the transport of high-quality, genuine Australian products into the hands of customers,” said Bob Black, chief executive of StarTrack (a business of Australia Post). “We play an important role facilitating and growing trade between Australian and Chinese businesses and consumers.”

The signing of the MoU agreement was witnessed by Australian minister for trade, tourism and investment, Steven Ciobo, on the sidelines of Chinese premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Australia.





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