Blockchain is a type of secure database that serves as an unchangeable ledger of information about an object. It was invented to track the movements of the cryptocurrency bitcoin, creating records that are anonymous but can’t be tampered with. Blockchain has applications outside of electronic currency, though, like tracking where your pork and vegetables have been. Wait, what?
Walmart is running an experiment that it hopes will help keep customers safer when there’s a food safety issue, but that will also help to trace where a food that makes a customer sick has been and where it originally came from.
The chain could pull apples or spinach that came from one specific farm based on a customer’s receipt, for example, instead of having to destroy all of the apples sold in an entire region.
Walmart is deploying this method with pork products in China and with a packaged produce item that it declines to name in the United States. Could it be spinach? Apple slices? Kale? Whatever product is actually being tracked, everyone from the original farmer to the store where the item is finally sold will be able to log information about that batch on the blockchain.