GSTF Journal on Computing (JoC)

, 3:51

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

A Framework for Developing Social Networks Enabling Systems to Enhance the Transparency and Visibility of Cross-border Food Supply Chains

  • Frank J. XuAffiliated withE-Business Technology Institute, University of Hong Kong Email author 
  • , Victor P. ZhaoAffiliated withEmerging Technologies Institute, University of Hong Kong
  • , Lu ShanAffiliated withGuangzhou Wanglaoji Pharmaceutical Company Limited,
  • , Chuxiong HuangAffiliated withGuangzhou Wanglaoji Pharmaceutical Company Limited,


Demands on safe, high-quality and healthy food are unprecedentedly increasing in both emerging economies and advanced countries. Food safety incidents and scandals, frequently breaking out around the world, are significantly reducing the confidence of consumers in food safety and quality. It is even more difficult to achieve the full transparency, visibility and traceability of dynamic cross-border and global food supply chains, which is critical to ensure food safety and quality, due to: the personalization and globalization of consumer demands; the diversities of food products, raw materials and ingredients; the loose relationships between food business partners; the technology and resource barriers in aligning business processes, coordinating and sharing information; and the changing government supervision mechanisms and standards. Social networking technologies and social software are promising enablers to facilitate end consumers, food companies and government agencies to participate in open discussion, comments and feedback on the quality and safety of cross-border foods. They are able to connect, interact, communicate and collaborate with each other in loose, open, effective and flexible ways for enhancing the transparency and visibility of cross-border and global food supply chains through collective wisdom and intelligence. In this paper a framework is proposed for developing social networks enabling food traceability systems, which not only leverages enterprise applications, public service platforms for food quality, safety and traceability operated by government or industrial associations, but utilizes such emerging technologies as Internet-of-Things, social analytic and mobile technologies to ease interactive communication and collaboration between various stakeholders of food chains. Guidelines, architectures, use scenarios, and technology alternatives for implementing the traceability systems are also discussed in this work. A prototype, titled OSCM-FD, is being implemented and pilots are being conducted to verify the validity of the proposed framework.

Index Terms

Food Safety and Quality Food Supply Chain Social Applications Social Network Transparency Traceability System