IBM began testing the traceability technology, blockchain, with several major retailers in October. Walmart, Kroger and several other retailers joined IBM’s blockchain project called ‘Food Trust’. The company stated in a release that their program is designed as a modular solution, which enables users to implement aspects that will be most useful to them at their point in the food supply chain. They went on to say that right now, the solution consists of three modules – certification, trace and data entry, and upload – with other modules in development to address specific industry pain points.
Blockchain is described as a digital ledger that is secure and encrypted. You can choose what data is viewable to what audiences but you can’t edit the data without it noting that it was changed. When the technology is developed and adopted at all points of the food chain, that information will be recorded automatically and should reduce recall times and limit outbreaks.
IBM said in the release that they conducted a test on sliced mangoes. Walmart was able to track the product from the store shelf back to its origin farm in six days. IBM’s Food Trust technology using blockchain did it in just over two seconds.