In Wake of Romaine E. coli Scare, Walmart Deploys Blockchain to Track Leafy Greens
Walmart and Sam’s Club sent a letter in September 2018 to suppliers of fresh, leafy greens asking them to trace their products all the way back to the farm using blockchain technology. Suppliers are expected to integrate a blockchain-based tracking system built in collaboration with IBM by September 2019.
According to the letter sent to suppliers, any company working with Walmart must work with the IBM Food Trust network to create end-to-end traceability in two phases.
“To assist you in meeting this new Walmart business requirement, we have worked closely with IBM and other food companies to create a user-friendly, low-cost, blockchain-enabled traceability solution that meets our requirements and creates shared value for the entire leafy green farm to table continuum.”
Walmart has joined MediLedger, a consortium building blockchain for tracking the provenance of pharmaceuticals.
According to CoinDesk, this move represents a deepening of Walmart’s involvement with blockchain technology. As Walmart has insisted that its suppliers of leafy greens integrate the IBM blockchain, and it should bring similar supply-chain clout to MediLedger, whose members already include pharmaceutical manufacturers such as Pfizer and the three largest pharmaceutical wholesalers, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen, and Cardinal Health.
“Health and wellness,” a category that includes pharmacy and over-the-counter drugs, accounted for $35 billion of Walmart’s U.S. sales in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, or 10% of the total, according to the company’s annual report.
Unlike Food Trust, MediLedger uses an enterprise version of the Ethereum blockchain, built with a modified version of the Parity client and a consensus mechanism called proof of authority. The consortium is spearheaded by San Francisco-based blockchain firm Chronicled, which closed a $16 million funding round earlier this year.
Walmart joins as MediLedger prepares to kick off a pilot project with the U.S. Food and Drug Azdministration (FDA) in early June. The agency is testing various approaches to creating an interoperable, digitized system for tracking and verifying prescription drugs, something Congress has mandated it deliver by 2023.
Alibaba’s CaiNiao （菜鸟） Network and Tmall （天猫）International have implemented blockchain technology to upload, verify, and track logistics information for cross-border imported goods.
It is reported by ChainNews that such logistics information covers the whole process of imported goods from production to transportation, customs clearance, third party inspection and so on, and will give each cross-border imported goods a unique ID for consumers to check and verify.
CaiNiao, established in 2013, is a logistics data and network service provider. “The blockchain concept has been on the rise for a long time, it has a wide range of applications, such as helping Chinese consumers buy overseas goods. And we firmly believe that it is the basic technology of the Internet,” Tang Yu, head of international technology at CaiNiao, said.
The biggest characteristic of blockchain is that on-chain data cannot be tampered with, through the merchants, customs and other parties upload logistics data, consumers may cross-certify their own purchase of goods information.
Currently this program has covered Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Tianjin, Ningbo, Chongqing, Fuzhou and Zhengzhou and other major Chinese ports of the CaiNiao Network. There are now more than 50 countries with 30,000 types of imported goods available for this blockchain-based supply chain management query.
French retail giant Carrefour has attributed a recent increase in sales to its use of blockchain tracking.
BERLIN (Reuters) – French retailer Carrefour SA has seen sales boosted by the use of blockchain ledger technology to track meat, milk and fruit from farms to stores and will extend it to more products to increase shopper trust, an executive said on Monday, 3 June.
Carrefour has launched blockchain information for 20 items including chicken, eggs, raw milk, oranges, pork and cheese, and will add 100 more this year with a focus on areas where consumers want reassurance, like baby and organic products.
“You are building a halo effect – ‘If I can trust Carrefour with this chicken, I can also trust Carrefour for their apples or cheese,’” Emmanuel Delerm, Carrefour’s blockchain project manager, told Reuters at a conference.
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