Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

UPS, HERDX deliver Blockchain-Verified Beef from US to Japan

William Payne
November 14, 2019



UPS and US agri-tech solutions provider HerdX have shipped blockchain-verified traced beef from a US farm to Japan. The delivery is seen as a significant step forward in quality assurance and traceability in the beef industry and was celebrated at an event attended by US and Japanese embassy officials in Tokyo.

The market for food traceability and verification tools has grown, with technology companies, government agencies and academic institutions working to standardize the process. However, to date, there is no global standard for food traceability and verification.

UPS and HerdX collaborated to develop tracking and traceability technology that improves quality assurance for beef products being shipped internationally. UPS created a customized, integrated visibility tool that plugs into HerdX’s blockchain technology, providing live updates and data points throughout the journey.

UPS customs brokers coordinated with health, food and safety regulators in both the US and Japan to obtain all required certifications that made the delivery possible. 

The shipment of beef left Kansas the week of November 4 wrapped in UPS Temperature True packaging, a cold chain thermal management solution that features temperature-sensitive air freight containers. The packaging contained sensors that monitored and recorded the shipment’s temperature from origin to destination. 

Data sourced via UPS Temperature True monitoring devices was uploaded and integrated within HerdX’s blockchain verification platform. The beef arrived via air freight to an urban contemporary steakhouse where invited guests were provided menu items featuring scannable QR codes containing tracking information detailing the journey of the beef they were to consume. All non-domestic HerdX products moving forward will now feature similar verification.

“Blockchain verification for international air freight shipments is complex and requires a great amount of expertise in customs and freight forwarding. Getting it right has implications for many industries, such as restaurants, food & beverage, and retail,” said Romaine Seguin, President of UPS Global Freight Forwarding. “We’re committed to upholding HerdX’s industry-leading quality assurance and traceability standards for all customers eyeing international growth moving forward.”

UPS Global Customs Brokerage processes almost 25 million import clearances each year in the US alone, making it one of the world’s largest customs brokers. “It’s an exciting time to be entering the Japanese market with a much-needed, innovative solution to a pervasive industry issue,” Seguin added. “We hope our relationship with HerdX will catalyze an expansion of service offerings for our international shipping customers.”