June 2019

Grain Discovery and CSGA Pilot Next Generation of Food Traceability

This first-of-its-kind pilot used blockchain to follow Certified soybean seed through production and processing, ending with fresh-packed tofu on store shelves.

Grain Discovery in partnership with the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) have leapt into the future of farm-to-table traceability with a pilot that used blockchain to follow locally produced Certified soybean seed through production and processing, ending with freshly packed tofu hitting grocery store shelves. This first-of-its-kind pilot was supported by an investment of $58,000 from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (now the Canadian Agricultural Strategic Priorities Program) and through additional support from Grain Farmers of Ontario.

The intention of the pilot was to provide a mechanism for the Ontario soybean supply chain to meet consumer demand for transparency and build additional value into their product at home and internationally. This was achieved by recording every step the soybean seed took in real-time onto one blockchain, creating a digital food passport that could be accessed by scanning a QR code on the final packaged product.

“Our government is committed to supporting Canada’s soybean sector, and this innovative project will strengthen consumer trust and ensure Ontario producers are able to deliver top-quality products for Canadians and markets around the world,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “Science and innovation are key to ensuring that we can continue to meet demands for our safe and nutritious products at home and abroad.”

“From where food is grown, to where it is consumed, our food passes through many intermediaries and provenance is often lost,” said Rory O’Sullivan, Grain Discovery CEO. “This pilot is unique not only because the consumer and buyers can instantly access their food’s journey in the palm of their hand, but can verify the claims made by the product, like organic labelling or origin.”

The Certified soybean seed used in this pilot is the result of a rigorous production and certification process which ensures that specific benefits developed by a plant breeder are retained through the production process, and delivered to farmers and the food industry – guaranteeing genetic identity, purity and food ingredients that reliably deliver the texture, flavour, nutritional characteristics and appearance expected.

“Canada’s seed system is recognized and respected around the globe because it ensures purity while providing a third-party verified audit trail of varietal identity,” said Doug Miller, Managing Director of Certification and Technology Services at CSGA. “This blockchain pilot allows Canadian producers to tell their story in a new way that resonates with consumers. It’s a win-win for both farmers and consumers searching for options and information on where they spend their money.”

While this digital passport is helpful for the consumer and farmers, it also has positive implications for food safety and export markets.

“This pilot comes at a time when food safety, transparency and traceability has never been more important to farmers, consumers and international markets,” said Crosby Devitt, Vice President at Grain Farmers of Ontario. “We look forward to expanding on the traceability benefits of blockchain to help consumers understand safe farming practices, secure export markets and promote Canadian agriculture.”

The OAC Kent pedigreed soybean seed used in this pilot, a variety developed by the University of Guelph, was produced by Szentimrey Seeds Ltd., planted and harvested by Minten Farms, stored at Beechwood Agri Services Inc. elevator, processed at Ying Ying Soy Food Ltd and distributed by FreshSpoke.

Follow the soybean journey at id.graindiscovery.com  



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Late Spring Seeding: Grace Periods on Application Deadline Dates

CSGA is aware that many of our members have experienced a late spring this year and that it has been a particularly challenging seeding season. We are monitoring the situation closely, and would like to remind growers that CSGA has in place a 14 calendar day grace period on application deadline dates. Application deadline dates are in place to allow for adequate application processing times between CSGA, CFIA and your inspection service. They are not meant to penalize members, and we understand that each year brings new and different seeding conditions across the country. As indicated in the Application Support Document, distributed to members in early March, the application deadline date grace periods are always in place to provide flexibility. This means you can submit your Application for Seed Crop Certification up to 14 days past the deadline before incurring late penalties.

If you are concerned that you cannot submit your application even within the grace period, we’d like to hear from you.  Please contact the CSGA office as soon as possible at  (613) 236-0497 or support@seedgrowers.ca.  We are monitoring the situation closely, and will communicate further extensions if members indicate the existing grace periods on application deadline dates are not sufficient.

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Contact Us

CSGA staff are here to help you. Don’t hesitate to contact us. Remember the CSGA national office operates in the Eastern Time (ET) zone.

Telephone: (613) 236-0497
Email: communications@seedgrowers.ca
Address: 21 Florence St, Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0W6
Click here for complete staff contact information.