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Digital Tracking Added to Parmigiano Reggiano

Specialty Food Association

The Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano has partnered with Kaasmerk Matec and p-Chip Corp. to launch a line of food-safe, secure traceability digital labels for its Parmigiano Reggiano cheese wheels.

The new technology will deliver previously unseen levels of traceability, inventory tracking and control, product authentication, quality-assurance testing, product serialization, and consumer safety, according to the companies.

“Parmigiano Reggiano is one of the world’s oldest and most famous cheeses, and it is a product that symbolizes Italian produce. Since the establishment of our Consortium in 1934, we have worked to convey the value of our product globally and distinguish it from similar-sounding products on the market that do not meet our strict requirements for production and area of origin,” said Nicola Bertinelli, president of the Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano, in a statement. “By being the first to incorporate these secure digital labels onto our cheese wheels, we can continue to ensure consumer safety, bringing the traceability and the authentication of our products to meet industry 4.0 technological targets.”

Since 2002, a casein label with a unique and sequential alphanumeric code is applied to each Parmigiano Reggiano cheese wheel but now p-Chip is launching a new line of secure digital tracking labels for the industry, and the Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano is breaking new ground by embedding these p-Chip micro transponders into 2D codes, QR codes, and/or data-matrix codes.

The result is a digital tag that takes CFPR’s food safety and security a step beyond the government requirement.

Kaasmerk Matec and p-Chip Corporation partnered to complete this program for a p-Chip device integrated into casein label, an industry-standard, protein-based type of food/cheese identification method. The innovation combines food-safe casein labels with the p-Chip micro transponder—a blockchain crypto-anchor that creates a digital “twin” for physical items.

This scannable new food tag is smaller than a grain of salt and highly durable. Over the past two years, the Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano has conducted extensive testing of the p-Chip/Kaasmerk Matec Casein label and approved the label’s technical use for the authentication and digital traceability of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

The new smart digital food labels will be added to 100,000 CFPR bulk cheese wheels in the second quarter of 2022. This represents the final phase of large-scale "testing" before evaluating the possibility of extending this technology to the entire production of Parmigiano Reggiano.

Related: Consortium Explores Solutions to Proposed Traceability RegulationsCheese Focus: What’s New in European Cheese.