After a year of exploration, a work group established by Asm. Ian Calderon of Los Angeles has submitted recommendations to the Legislature on policies to support the data-encryption technology known as blockchain.

In the report, the group details three pilot projects for the lawmakers to consider. One of those is for CDFA to adopt the technology for tracing food-borne contamination. Work group chair Camille Crittenden notes that CDFA has already expressed interest in working with industry on blockchain in order to improve transparency in the food supply chain.

The report recommends beginning with small farms and co-ops. Along with traceability and transparency, it suggests the technology could reduce food waste by bringing more efficiency to the supply chain.

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"The technology will have to prove itself in rigorous evaluations of its application," warns Crittenden in the report. "State dollars, representing taxpayer money, are scarce, and development of new platforms must provide a clear return on investment."