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A Cooperation to Conquer the World

With its educational, research and innovative activities connected to the TE-FOOD food safety and tracking system, the University of Debrecen may become an internationally recognised competency centre. The related agreement was signed by UD and the Laurel Group on 18 October.

- The main line of research and industrial development activities of UD are connected to the health industry, with the food industry being one of its most competitive areas. In this sector one of the most important factors in quality assurance is food tracking, which allows the monitoring of materials from manufacturing to the table in a way accepted by the relevant authorities. The related standards build trust in consumers – explained rector Zoltán Szilvássy at UD on 18 October in relation to signing the agreement with the Laurel Group that is involved in the development of the TE-FOOD tracking system.







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As highlighted by the rector, a special feature of the system is that the company is able to offer this cutting-edge technology, which offers high added value, cheaper than its competitors.

- We hope that this agreement will be beneficial to both parties. It will allow the combination of academic research and development, the activities of agricultural research farms, companies involved in food industry, and knowledge related to this special food industry’s quality assurance system. This may result in a significant position for the university and the whole region in the food industry. This complex production and supply chain analysis allows a Hungarian university and a Hungarian company to play a key role in an important sector at the international stage – highlighted Zoltán Szilvássy.

István Bessenyei, owner and managing director of the Laurel Group, explained that the company, with a 25-year history, basically studies how better food can be provided for consumers.

- The TE-FOOD tracking system is a unique solution that combines cutting-edge technologies like blockchain and the Internet of Things to provide the highest available quality for users. Consumers can obtain real-time, reliable information about food products – said István Bessenyei.

Mr. Bessenyei said that the company started to consider making contact with the academic world when they were about to enter the international market, and this is how they found the University of Debrecen.

- I believe that in the future this kind and level of tracking will be a basic requirement in agriculture. The academic world must be prepared for training professionals who are in the possession of the necessary knowledge to excel anywhere around the world. The pool of knowledge offered by the university provides a great opportunity for development. Considering that we have an outstanding Hungarian product and a supporting Hungarian institution, UD can easily become one of the leading competency centres in the world in this field, for this is something that professionals are only learning, and we have great advantages both in terms  of technology and experience – explained István Bessenyei.

Chancellor Zoltán Bács called the agreement a special achievement, which sets more ambitious goals than other similar cooperations.

- A Hungarian company and a Hungarian university join forces to conquer the world. Our main goal is not to target the domestic market through our activities, which allows the company to develop its services and the university to improve its programmes. We are going to carry out a common curriculum development both for classroom and distance education in Hungarian and in English as well, because the company is already present in many parts of the world. Besides, there is significant potential in research and development activities too, as we are able to appear on such a modern market of technology where the world is not ahead of us.

The TE-FOOD system was introduced by Erik Árokszállási, director of TE-FOOD. The from-farm-to-consumers program, which collects food safety and logistic information, consists of two big modules.
The intra-farm tracking unit collects information on feeding, vaccination and the use of chemicals in the course of production until the products leave the farm. After that the tracking continues by further actors of the supply chain where we collect logistical and processing data until the products get to store shelves. Many methods are used for collecting data from manual methods to processing data from smart phones and the integration of systems used by producers. The system also has a public application, which allows end users to obtain information by scanning the QR code on the product – explained Árokszállási Erik.

The expert added that they started to use blockchain, a cutting-edge IT method one and a half years ago. In this context both the collection and the storage of information are realized using a decentralized method, thus all elements of the supply chain have information related to a specific product in th