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Research project

Food Data Trust: A framework for information sharing

This work examines the role of information sharing in ensuring safe food production supply networks. It proposes a data trust framework that will more efficiently enable secure information sharing for the benefit of all stakeholders in the food system.

Our food system is evolving in the context of a range of digital and data opportunities.

How then, as a critical enabler, do independent, competing but cooperating organisations choose to make information accessible in a way that is safe, legally valid and demonstrably beneficial? How can and should regulators be engaged with this and what might it mean to our operations?

Trust frameworks can offer mechanisms to manage decentralised and distributed collections of data that are temporarily linked in limited and specific ways, so that information can be shared securely.

This report, commissioned by the FSA’s Science Council Working Group on Data Usage and Digital Technology, sought to explore this concept with the aim of promoting future applications to reduce friction and support standards and trust across food supply chain. It builds on previous work from the FSA to explore the use of Blockchain for the efficient collection and communication of inspection results in abattoirs. That information for example, is fed back to farmers to improve animal health and welfare and subsequently food safety.

Objective and approach

Our approach to a data trust framework for food standards is founded on three pillars of analysis:

  • Governance
  • interoperability (technology and standards)
  • business models, the organisational and institutional mechanisms delivering the benefits and incentives for the real world

These have been unpacked with input from a range of interested parties.

Research report