Belfast company using Blockchain to fight food fraud

Incidents like the horse meat scandal of 2013 could be worth up to $52bn globally per year

A Belfast company that has developed Blockchain technology to fight food fraud is poised to play a key role in a new €10 million European and Chinese food safety project.

Arc-net, which was founded three years ago by Northern Ireland entrepreneur Kieran Kelly, has been appointed as a technology partner to the European Horizon 2020 programme - the EU-China Safe project - which will focus on tackling food fraud in the two trading regions.

The European Horizon 2020 programme and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) programme are jointly funding the project which will be led by Queen’s University Belfast’s Institute for Global Food Security (IGFS) and MOST.

The key aim of the EU-China-Safe project is to reduce food fraud and improve food safety through focusing on traceability and authenticity.


Industry experts warn that food fraud, like the horse meat scandal of 2013 and the “gutter oil” scandal in China three years ago - where slaughterhouse waste and sewage were used in cooking oil - is becoming increasingly complex and could be worth up to $52 billion globally each year.

The EU-China-Safe project plans to use state of the art technologies, including arc-net’s Blockchain powered platform, and virtual laboratories to develop new ways of identifying and fighting food fraud.

Arc-net’s technology platform will be the bedrock for the project which will bring key players from global food industries, research and government together.

Mr Kelly believes the EU-China-Safe project will be “ground breaking” and “transformative”.

“Arc-net’s mission has always been to ensure the health of current and future generations by providing access to safe and authentic food and we see this project as a vital step in achieving this goal. “The use of innovative technologies will result in the creation of fully transparent supply chain network which will become the foundation for a trusted digital community.”

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business