It’s happening. The blockchain is disrupting the agriculture space, thanks to Fogo de Chao, a Plano, Texas-based Brazilian steakhouse. Fogo de Chao revealed it will integrate blockchain technology to monitor the meat it serves from farm to table. In doing so, the restaurant is helping to catapult the cattle ranching business into the high-tech arena.
Cattle ranchers gain a window into the health and behavior of their animals. Restaurants can track where the meat came from. And consumers can see the history of the animal’s life on a “semi-public” network using their smartphone.
Fogo de Chao, which has locations across the U.S., Mexico, and the Middle East, has teamed up with Boerne, Texas-based ag-tech startup HerdX for what it describes as the first of its kind partnership. The inspiration for adding the blockchain to track meat was twofold: food safety and transparency. A
HerdX spokesperson told CCN.com:
“We are launching first in Fogo de Chao’s three Dallas locations and then quickly scaling with them to all of their 52 locations.”
HerdX CTO Austin Adams told a CBS affiliate:
“Our main goal is to promote the legacy of the two percent of people that actually raise the animals that Americans eat. By doing that, we’re also able to create a safer supply chain.”
Farm to Table
The next time you visit Fogo de Chao, be sure and bring your smartphone. This is how you will be able to access the history of the herds of animals that made the meal possible. The app, which is built on the blockchain, provides you with a glimpse into the life of the animal. First, scan a QR code on Fogo de Chao’s menu. Next, thanks to the blockchain, view details such as where the cattle originated from and when the meat made its way to the restaurant. Keep in mind that seeing when the animal was born could have the unintended consequence of making you a vegetarian.
Meanwhile, cattle ranchers are connected via a “digital network” to track the behavioral habits of their animals. Fogo de Chao CEO Barry McGowan says “we’ve got one of the safest food supplies in the world.” Well, it’s about to get better:
“What’s great is technology is just advancing the conversation. And now, the blockchain is going to accelerate it,” said McGowan to CBS.
Blockchain Could Save the Lives of Babies
The blockchain is hot and its focus should be more on the social good that early developers had in mind when they created the public ledger, such as food safety. The food supply chain has the ability to deliver transparency and clean products to countries whose food safety management has been in crisis. For instance, consider China and the fears still surrounding its milk. Those babies who died from bad formula might still be alive today if only technology like the blockchain were able to pinpoint the deadly ingredients sooner.
HerdX’s Participatory Blockchain
In January, HerdX named Austin Adams as its CTO. His mission is to deliver food traceability and tracking to the restaurants and groceries around the world. He told CCN.com:
“We have created a participatory blockchain network using open-source tools. Our solution does not rely on traditional cryptocurrency mining to run the network. We leverage the blockchain technology to create a cryptographically verified interaction between the participants in the cattle supply chain. Its a collaborative network that accelerates and automates the tracing of cattle through its lifecycle.”
HerdX is building its own technology to do this alongside tech giants including Microsoft and Google. Additional partnerships are in the pipeline.