ASTRI Develops Next Generation Food Safety Management Platform for Smart Import of Frozen Meat to Enhance Monitoring and Traceability

HONG KONG — The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) has adopted blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to create the “Next Generation Cold Food Import Safety Management Platform” to digitise and enhance the monitoring and control of the import of frozen or chilled meat from Mainland China.

The Next Generation Cold Food Import Safety Management Platform stores all import documents and container temperature data on the blockchain. Those who have been granted access rights, including farms, processing plants, importers and exporters, and approval units, will share the same documents and data to ensure consistency. Trucks will use the Global Positioning System (GPS) to record their driving routes and use an advanced electronic lock and thermometer to monitor the status of the container door and the temperature inside, uploading it to the system platform and storing on the blockchain in real time.

Dr Lucas Hui, ASTRI’s Acting Co-CEO cum Chief Technology Officer, said, “ASTRI has always been committed to using advanced scientific research to assist the government and the industrial and commercial sector in addressing problems and optimising operations, thereby improving the quality of life for our citizens. With the Next Generation Cold Food Import Safety Management Platform, we can assist importers and relevant government departments in more efficiently processing food import applications.”

Mr Ricky Leung, senior manager of cybersecurity, cryptography and trusted technologies at ASTRI, and the project coordinator, said, “Our goal is to deploy blockchain and IoT technologies to ensure that the entire process of transporting and storing chilled and frozen food is efficient and hygienic, and to facilitate food traceability. If a food safety incident occurs, we will be able to trace where the problem food comes from and where it goes.” 

ASTRI, with the support from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and a meat importer, has conducted system trials on the routes between a meat processing plant on the Mainland and the Man Kam To Control Point. Two phases of the trials were successfully completed in February and March 2021. ASTRI will optimise the platform, and share the trial results with the relevant departments on the Mainland and in Hong Kong, anticipating further discussions on the development of the platform.     

The Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) was founded by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2000 with the mission of enhancing Hong Kong’s competitiveness through applied research. ASTRI’s core R&D competence in various areas is grouped under five Technology Divisions: AI and Big Data Analytics; Communications; Cybersecurity, Cryptography and Trusted Technologies; Integrated Circuits and Systems; and IoT and Sensors. It is applied across five core areas which are Smart City, Financial Technologies, Intelligent Manufacturing, Digital Health, and Application Specific Integrated Circuits.

Over the years, ASTRI has nurtured a pool of research, I&T talents and received numerous international awards for its pioneering innovations as well as outstanding business and community contributions. To date, ASTRI has transferred over 750 technologies to the industries and been granted more than 900 patents in the Mainland, the US, and other countries.                                      

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