Walmart says enough is enough| No more crapped-in lettuce, cilantro
| Retailer mandates block chain control for all leafy greens
| Walmart is putting an end to untraceable produce with technology that will allow its greens to be traced from the cash register all the way back through the distribution chain to the farm:
- All fresh, leafy greens suppliers will be required to implement digital, end-to-end traceability of their products using blockchain by September of next year.
- IBM, which began testing its blockchain services with Walmart, Kroger and other food companies last year, will provide the software and support for suppliers.
- Frank Yiannas, Walmart’s vice president of food safety, said the retailer plans to establish compliance deadlines for other fruit and vegetable suppliers over the next year, according to Bloomberg. “It’s becoming a business requirement, it’s a part of our supplier agreements,” he told the publication.
- Blockchain serves as a digital ledger that compiles information across the supply chain in a secure, decentralized fashion. In the food industry, it’s touted as a way to quickly and accurately trace products back to their source and provide full transparency for retailers and consumers. Walmart began testing blockchain in 2016, when it traced Chinese pork and fresh mango back to their sources.
Blockchain is still in its early stages and questions about best practices, costs to companies, how it will be regulated and the technology’s ability to deliver remain.
But Walmart has decided it’s seen enough to move forward.
The decision — and the performance of IBM’s blockchain program in the months ahead — could send waves across the industry.
Blockchain works by grouping data into individual “blocks” that are secure, inalterable, and can be easily distributed.
When it comes to food safety and traceability, blockchain promises to replace the paper records and manual input systems retailers have traditionally relied upon with a fast, automated and secure program.
The results of Walmart’s early tests are staggering. When vice president of food safety Frank Yiannis charged his team with tracing a package of mangoes back to its source farm using traditional methods, it took them just under seven days to do so. Read more at Food Dive.