Walmart, JD.com, IBM, and Tsinghua University National Engineering Laboratory for E-Commerce Technologies announced today they are launching a Blockchain Food Safety Alliance aimed at providing food origin traceability through the supply chain, from producers to consumers.
The system, that is expected to strengthen accountability of suppliers and retailers, will be developed through cooperation between the three companies and Tsinghua University as well as through working with regulators and food supply chain providers.
“Throughout the world, and particularly in China, consumers increasingly want to know how their food is sourced”, said Yongli Yu, President of JD-Y, JD.com’s supply chain research unit.
The food safety system will run on blockchain technology through which companies that join the alliance will be able to share information, integrating their traceability management channels, leading to a safer food environment for consumers. “Through collaboration, standardization, and adoption of new and innovative technologies, we can effectively improve traceability and transparency and help ensure the global food system remains safe for all,” stated Frank Yiannas, vice president of food safety and health at Walmart.
Research has shown that blockchain technology leads to a sharp reduction of time needed to trace a package of food, from days and weeks to seconds, increasing consumer confidence in how the food is handled. IBM Industry Platform’s senior vice president Bridget van Kralingen said that “blockchain holds incredible promise in delivering the transparency that is needed to help promote food safety across the whole supply chain.”