Walmart now requires all leafy greens suppliers to use its blockchain based system in the next one year. The retail giant hopes the technology will help it track shipments right from the farm and pinpoint sources of bacterial infections in seconds. The blockchain technology solution would be used “to keep track of every bag of spinach and head of lettuce.”
The problem is particularly common and serious but it still takes several days to know the source of the contamination, if at all. If you are a consumer, the system will in future allow you to scan and know the exact source of your vegetables. With the blockchain, it takes only 2.2 seconds to track the source of food.
“In the future, using the technology we’re requiring, a customer could potentially scan a bag of salad and know with certainty where it came from,” Walmart said in a press release Monday.
The retailer says tracking farm produce is an insurmountable challenge with its manual processes. “The food system is absolutely too large for any single entity to (track),” Frank Yiannas, VP of Food Safety. Direct suppliers are required to conform to a one step back traceability by the end of January.
The system is being rolled out slowly but all suppliers will be required to use it in a year’s time. The move is yet another way the nascent technology is proving itself in the real world. The adoption by such a major company adds more legitimacy and is likely to spur even more interest.
“Our customers deserve a more transparent supply chain. We felt the one-step-up and one-step-back model of food traceability was outdated for the 21st century. This is a smart, technology-supported move that will greatly benefit our customers and transform the food system, benefitting all stakeholders,” Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety for Walmart said.
The Walmart system was developed with assistance from IBM, the American IT company which has recently taken a keen interest in the new technology.
Already, the technology is being adopted in the shipping industry where it is particularly useful. Startups like Ripple are also developing solutions that could disrupt banking in the future.
There is also talk that Amazon, the e-commerce giant is about to employ the technology in its processes after it acquired crypto domains last year. Blockchain is the technology that also powers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.