Walmart and IBM to Use Blockchain for Food Safety in China

The Chinese food industry is notorious for poor quality standards. In few instances, potentially lethal substances were used as adulterants, resulting in a number of deaths. In order to prevent such incidents in the future, strict monitoring and control over the manufacture and supply chain are very important.

The leading global retailer Walmart has partnered with IBM to do just that. Both companies are working alongside Tsinghua University in Beijing to use blockchain-based solutions to track the movement of pork from farm, to supermarket shelves in China. According to reports, Walmart and its partner institutions are planning to make use of the distributed ledger technology created as part of the Hyperledger project for this purpose.

Pork forms a main part of the diet among the majority of the Chinese population. Improper maintenance of the supply chain can lead to spoilage and affect a large number of people. Walmart’s proposed solution, in partnership with IBM and Tsinghua University, will allow the retailer to maintain an immutable record of all the transactions, indicating the movement of meat from producers to processors, distributors, and grocers until it reaches the customer. By adding transparency to the movement of meat though the commercial network, Walmart intends to build trust with its customers.

At the same time, the use of blockchain to record the movement of meat through the supply chain will also help the retailers as well as governments to prevent any disastrous scenarios involving contaminated meat and sick people.

“China’s rapid economic growth has led to massive opportunities for innovation, but it has also presented quality of life challenges, including ensuring that food sold in the country is safe to eat,”

— said Chai Yueting, a professor at Tsinghua University while explaining the need for a blockchain based supply chain tracking solution.

In addition to the new Hyperledger based pilot project, Walmart has also opened a new food safety collaboration center in Beijing. Based on the success of the current project, the company intends to include more food products in the near future.

Ref: Fortune | Image: The Globe and Mail