Teaming up with Tsinghua University in Beijing, it is hoped that by digitally tracking the movement of pork in China on bitcoin’s underlying distributed ledger, it will prevent food disasters such as those that have been reported in China.
According to Forbes, in 2008, a toxic mixture of milk and infant formula combined with melamine, killed six children, put thousands of others in hospital and sickened much more.
However, in a bid to improve its food safety in the country, the Chinese government looked at its food safety regulations last year in an attempt to prevent any further mishaps.
According to Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety at Walmart, who spoke to Fortune, tracking food can help stop food disasters.
If you could track and pinpoint where that came from faster, you could alleviate all that and ensure consumer confidence continues.
An Unlikely Project
While it may look like an unlikely project by Walmart it seems that by teaming up with IBM they are set on providing consumers with a transparent record as to where the food comes from whether that’s in the U.S. or China.
The company is planning on using the Linux Foundation-run Hyperledger Project. It will use a private database blockchain, co-developed by IBM, which will provide consumers with a record that details how the meat is transported from producers to processors to distributors to the shops, with the end result being the consumer.
As Yiannas states, consumers are more interested in how a product originates and where it goes before it reaches them.
If you shine a light on the food system, that leads to transparency.
Walmart, IBM, and Blockchain
Of course, this isn’t the first time the retail giant has turned its attention to this relatively new technology.
Earlier in June, a petition was sent out asking people to sign to get Walmart to start accepting the digital currency bitcoin. In July, Walmart along with the likes of McDonald’s also started integrating bitcoin into reward programs.
IBM itself has not been afraid of jumping into the blockchain technology with a recent report stating that the company had invested $200 million USD in the Watson Internet of Things (IoT) global headquarters in Munich, Germany.
With the two companies invested in the digital world, it is hoped that they will present the answer that many consumers are seeking when it comes to tracking food digitally.
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