Unilever, Nestle, Walmart and some of the world’s major retailers and food brands are coming together to join up with United States technology company, IBM, on a new blockchain technology project that is designed to tackle food safety.
IBM will work with the 10 companies on the new project expected to look at how the distributed ledger technology (DLT) behind bitcoin could be used to track the global supply chain.
The philosophy behind the project is that getting the growers, suppliers, distributors and retailers on the blockchain could help identify the source of contaminated food more quickly and easily, hence reducing the impact on public health and lost revenue for companies.
Other companies involved include Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company and Tysons Foods.
They will work with IBM to identify where and how -the blockchain technology could and plan to embark on several pilot projects.
“Unlike any technology before it, blockchain is transforming the way like-minded organisations come together and enabling a new level of trust based on a single view of the truth,” said Marie Wieck, general manager for IBM blockchain.
“Our work with organisations across the food ecosystem, as well as IBM’s new platform, will further unleash the vast potential of this exciting technology, making it faster for organisations of all sizes and in all industries to move from concept to production to improve the way business gets done.”
Earlier in the year, IBM launched an accelerator and this comes as the company’s latest effort to get more businesses adopting the technology.
IBM had, in separate trials in the US and China with Walmart, demonstrated how the technology could track prooduce from farm to shelf.
“Blockchain technology enables a new era of end-to-end transparency in the global food system – equivalent to shining a light on food ecosystem participants that will further promote responsible actions and behaviours. It also allows all participants to share information rapidly and with confidence across a strong trusted network,” said Walmart food safety vice president Frank Yiannas.
“This is critical to ensuring that the global food system remains safe for all,” he added.