A group of leading companies across the global food supply chain today announced a major blockchain collaboration with IBM) intended to further strengthen consumer confidence in the global food system.
The global tech giant said in a statement that the consortium includes Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart, who will work with IBM to identify new areas where the global supply chain can benefit from blockchain.
Every year, one-in-ten people fall ill and 400,000 die due to contaminated food.
Many of the critical issues impacting food safety such as cross-contamination, the spread of food-borne illness, unnecessary waste and the economic burden of recalls are magnified by lack of access to information and traceability.
It can take weeks to identify the precise point of contamination, causing further illness, lost revenue and wasted product. For example, it took more than two months to identify the farm source of contamination in a recent incidence of salmonella in papayas.**
Blockchain is ideally suited to help address these challenges because it establishes a trusted environment for all transactions. In the case of the global food supply chain, all participants growers, suppliers, processors, distributors, retailers, regulators and consumers can gain permissioned access to known and trusted information regarding the origin and state of food for their transactions.
This can enable food providers and other members of the ecosystem to use a blockchain network to trace contaminated product to its source in a short amount of time to ensure safe removal from store shelves and stem the spread of illnesses.
Beyond food supply chain applications, blockchains are now being used to transform processes and streamline transactions for everything from flowers, real estate and trade finance, to education, insurance and medical services.
To accelerate this adoption, IBM is introducing the first fully integrated, enterprise-grade production blockchain platform, as well as consulting services, that will allow more organizations to quickly activate their own business networks and access the vital capabilities needed to successfully develop, operate, govern and secure these networks.
The platform builds off of the successful blockchain work IBM has delivered to more than 400 organizations, incorporating insights gained as IBM has built blockchain networks across industries including financial services, supply chain and logistics, retail, government and health care.
Strengthening Trust Across the Global Food Supply Ecosystem
In parallel trials in China and the U.S., IBM and Walmart recently demonstrated that blockchain can be used to track a product from the farm through every stage of the supply chain, right to the retail shelf, in seconds instead of days or weeks.
These trials also demonstrated that stakeholders throughout the global food supply chain view food safety as a collaborative issue, rather than a competitive one, and are willing to work together to improve the food system for everyone.