Ten firms including Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) and Nestlé SA, have created Food Trust group, a consortium that will leverage blockchain technology to the food supply chain. Currently, bad food can easily move into the supply chain as the firms do not have a detailed and complete tracking of the flow of foods. Under current policies, firms must register only a few steps, and many of them are still using paper documents to record data. This will however change thanks to distributed ledger technology (DLT), the consortium members hope.
The Food Trust technology
The Food Trust group has tested blockchain for about a year and they have now decided to roll out the technology. By doing so, the Food Trust hopes to increase recalls and rapidly find issues.
Walmart’s Vice President of food safety, Frank Yiannas, stated that people will be getting real-time data at every point, on every single food product. It is the equivalent of FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) monitoring food. Nestlé’s global head of supply chain, Chris Tyas, then commented that yes they are competitors but operating together to ensure trust of customers.
Non food companies in the food Trust
The Food Trust group also include firms such as Dole Food Co., Driscoll’s Inc., Unilever, McCormick & Co (NYSE: MKC), Golden State Foods, Kroger Co (NYSE:KR), McLane and Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE:TSN).
The platform for the Food Trust shall be initiated based on technology offered by IBM (NYSE:IBM), one of the most active blockchain adopters. The tech giant showed that the system records data related to one million products in about fifty food categories including Nestlé canned pumpkin, Tyson chicken thighs and Driscoll’s strawberries.
The Food Trust group hopes to gain from the technology in order to avoid crises like the recent E. coli bacteria contamination of romaine lettuce that the CDC claims has sickened 197 people in 35 states, with at least five dead.
Walmart was recently awarded three blockchain-related patents by the US Patent and Trademark Office, but none of those awards is related to the food supply chain.