🧀 Next Time You Buy Parmesan, Watch Out for the Microchip
Italian producers of parmesan cheese have been fighting against imitations for years. Now, makers of Parmigiano-Reggiano, as the original parmesan cheese is officially called, are slapping the microchips on their 90-pound cheese wheels as part of an endless cat-and-mouse game between makers of authentic and fake products.
The new silicon chips, made by Chicago-based p-Chip, use blockchain technology to authenticate data that can trace the cheese as far back as the producer of the milk used. The chips have been in advanced testing on more than 100,000 Parmigiano wheels for more than a year. The consortium of producers wants to be sure the chips can stand up to Parmigiano’s aging requirement, which is a minimum of one year and can exceed three years for some varieties.
Drugmaker Merck KGaA will soon begin using the chips, which are also being tested in the automotive industry to guarantee the authenticity of car parts. The chips could eventually be used on livestock, crops or medicine stored in liquid nitrogen.
“We don’t want to be known as the company accused of tracking people,” said Eibon. “I ate one of the chips and nobody is tracking me, except my wife, and she uses a different method.”