As reported by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on June 25, Walmart and nine other companies have entered into a partnership with IBM to release a blockchain-based platform to track food all over the world through its supply chain.
The Food Trust blockchain includes Nestlé SA, Driscoll’s Inc., Dole Food Co., Golden State Foods, Kroger Co., McLane Co., McCormick and Co., Tyson Foods Inc. and Unilever NV, have been cooperating with IBM on the initiative since 2016, and since last August started testing the platform.
According to the WSJ, the goal of the Food Trust is to improve the ability of companies to identify problems with food recalls, such as faster outbreaks tracking, in order to limit the risk to customers.
Frank Yiannas, Walmart’s vice president of food safety, mentioned:
“The Food Trust blockchain is equivalent to tracking FedEx for food. You will be able to collect data in real time at each point, on each individual food product.”
Although the involved brands may be competitors in some cases, Chris Tice, the global head of the supply chain at Nestlé, said that, despite this, they “work together to ensure consumer confidence”.
According to IBM, the Food Trust system stores data about 1 million items, in particular, mention of the Nestlé canned pumpkin, Driscoll’s strawberry and Tyson chicken thighs.
Although the blockchain wasn’t ready on time, writes WSJ, to help track the contaminated E.coli romaine lettuce in the US, which infected more than 197 people in five states. Yiannas notes, even if the food industry takes years to fully accept blockchain, in the future “outbreaks shouldn’t be so big and long.”
In April, Walmart announced that it’s ready to use blockchain for its business in the field of live food. Recently, the company received a patent for the use of a blockchain system for medical records, and also filed a patent for a blockchain-based client marketplace for the resale of Walmart goods.