Deliver a transparent food industry - you don't mind borders

23rd Aug 2019 03:56 AM

At Michael Gove's request, HMRC, Defra and the customs exit team reached out to Happerley two weeks ago seeking our technological solution to the border question. We were pleased to present and discuss this in Whitehall last week. We have spent years developing and shaping a means to passport the truth of origins across a food ingredient through its entire journey from seed or birth.
It is our belief that this blueprint, developed over the last few years, working alongside universities and every facet of the food industry, provides the fundamental roadmap for securing a borderless trading environment. If implemented, it can deliver an amazing silver lining to the dark clouds of borders and brexits - the world's most transparent food and drink industry. 
After being asked to consider a pilot across the dairy processing industry in Northern Ireland, I have since offered to meet all key stakeholders in this industry either side of the border around a table to secure their engagement and support. I know we can. The best solutions are built from consensus.
Supported by my team, I have offered to move quickly. With the right working party driven by Government, we believe the pilot can be shaped and agreed as a viable solution template within 30 days and implemented in six months. 
A Different Approach
As I have always said, the truth of food or drink begins at seed or birth and it is only by validating and securing this truth UP the food chain, from point of primary production, through all processing and movements can you ensure a truth at every outcome. Truth is no different to any other currency. You don't challenge it retrospectively - you need to know its worth in every transaction. Food and drink should be treated no differently.
Border checks have worked on the premise, like traceability of food, of applying retrospective checks. However, by securing and turning instantly accessible the truth of every ingredient (whatever that might be) from its very origin through its various 'recipes' (whatever these compositions might be) in real time, on every movement, in every transition or mutation, across a validated network of agents, you have no need for border checks. 
Difficult? No. The solution uses cryto-anchored QR labelling, mobile app scanning technologies, GPS and dynamic network modelling, applying blockchain to make data secured at every scan immutable. 
Cumbersome and costly? It sounds ever so complex doesn't it. No, there is just one app with multiple user privileges (ie providing different levels of data access and entry to producers, recipients, consumers and authorities). That one seamless passported journey locks in all necessary (and unnecessary ancillary) information for efficient trading across each sector. And of course the EU can have its own unique access to its own requirement. 
Yes, the engine - under the bonnet - is complex. However, the secret to software is to make it easy and intuitive to drive for every road user. Our solution is.
A  Currency of Truth Welcomed by Everyone
Passporting actual ingredients through their various compositions is our holy grail. We know how to achieve this. What we have been lacking to date are the DEFA datasets becoming publicly available - you need the original truth (eg a cow born) to carry forwards a truth. It needs government cooperation. 
Happerley currently validates and publishes and makes accessible to all the ingredient supply chains behind a product, brand or business. This half way stage to transparency is gathering an almost exponential momentum. Why? Because consumers want to know the journey of their food, and producers, wholesalers, restaurants and retailers with integrity seek to trade across a level playing field. It is this void of transparency and truth between primary producer and consumer that ignited the Happerley cause.

But turning supply chains tansparent is not even a half way house to the bigger picture - knowing what ingredient is where and when and how.
The UK's opportunity to become the world's most transparent and secure food and drink industry. 
We have a wealth of expertise and experience and a blueprint that we believe works. We look forward to continuing to help the Government at whatever level , because we know that If the Government implements such a solution, it has the opportunity to position the UK as the world's most transparent and secure food and drink industry. 
This pleases the consumer who will know in one scan exactly where every single ingredient in their lasagne has originated from (and they increasingly want to know). It will differentiate all UK food and drink exports post Brexit (consumers around the world want this transparency). It will please primary producers (farmers and growers) who have for too long lost provenance premium to the fiction and fraud committed between them and the consumer. And for the intermediaries, it is the long needed level playing field to trade upon.

It might also please Ireland and the EU.
Matthew Rymer
CEO and founder, Happerley