While many retailers are just toying with the idea of blockchain, Walmart is taking the bull by the horns.
The retailer and Sam’s Club said leafy green supplies will implement real-time, farm to store tracking using blockchain. All my next September 2019 to tackle food safety issues.
The move follows a multi-state outbreak of eColi linked to romaine lettuce.
According to the company’s recent letter:
“The outbreak resulted in 210 confirmed cases, caused 96 hospitalizations, and tragically 5 deaths, notes the company. Although the FDA and CDC were able to inform consumers, producers, and retailers that the romaine lettuce associated with illnesses came from the Yuma growing region, in general, health officials and industry professionals were unable to quickly determine which lots were affected and which were not. There is no question that there is a strong public-health and business-case for enhanced food traceability.”
Not long ago, Walmart and IBM partnered with several food companies, including Dole and Kroger, on a cooperative blockchain project.
“Using the IBM Food Trust network that relies on blockchain technology, we have shown that we can reduce the amount of time it takes to track a food item from a Walmart Store back to source in seconds, as compared to days or sometimes weeks,” says the company.
Walmart isn’t the only game in town
As we reported here, Ripe Technology co-founder and president, Phil Harris and co-founder Raja Ramachandran found that food is an industry plagued by fraud and safety issues. Blockchain can help manage the “decentralized nature of the food business, so people can post data, they can protect it, they can share it, they can create records with it. In the end for the consumer, they basically get a longer record,” they note.
With it, people can go to the grocery store for example, and know exactly where the food came from. They’ll know if it’s really organic, or GMO. They’ll even be able to tell how fresh it may be. What Ripe wants to do is use blockchain to help digitize the supply chain.
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